The ability to work remotely has become more common since the rise of broadband connections and powerful mobile computers.
But the new perk of working anywhere is on the rise — and senior staffers are embracing the opportunity.
A Harvard Business School study showed that there was a 4.4% increase in employee output when they were able to work from anywhere (WFA) vs. work from home (WFH, aka a location mandated by the company).
Researchers looked at employees from the United States Patent and Trademark Office who had previously worked from home and were then allowed to work from anywhere. The study was then able to compare the productivity of WFA and WFH employees.
Besides the productivity boost, working from anywhere may help retain an organization’s most experienced employees, the study found.
Researchers reported “that while early- and mid-career workers are likely to choose locations based on future career concerns, workers with greater tenure are more likely to choose ‘retirement-friendly’ destinations such as Florida.”
So while the data isn’t conclusive, it does show that offering tenured workers a WFA option may keep them working longer because they can do it on their own terms, or at least in their preferred location.
In addition, the study showed that the “flexibility afforded by WFA (and WFH) policies has been related to a number of benefits, such as increased employee autonomy, motivation, and decreased work-life conflict.” Essentially, it’s making it easier for people to continue working, even past the age they thought they would retire.
A 2018 Gallup poll shows that the average American expects to retire at age 66, up from age 60 when the same poll was held in 1990.
And a 2017 BMC Public Health study found that “flexible work arrangements were among some of the most important preconditions for working beyond retirement age.”
So, it seems that giving employees — especially senior employees — location flexibility could keep them around a few years longer.