Working from Home and Beyond

Working Remotely

Perhaps one of the largest new trends in the modern workplace is the ability to work remotely. While work from home (“WFH”) options have been around for quite some time, there is a new trend emerging which promotes “working from anywhere” (“WFA”). Advances in technology and streamlined services have allowed for increased flexibility in the way people work, both inside and outside of the office. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 43% of employed Americans spend at least some time working remotely every week. While the concept of working remotely is not necessarily new, it has gained quite a bit of traction as employers have begun capitalizing on its benefits. In fact, several recent studies suggest that the ability to work remotely increases productivity. Additionally, WFA and WFH programs might reduce some structural overhead costs. On the employee side, the uptick in remote working options is said to be driven by the increase of Millennial and Gen-Z workforce and changes in the labor culture. Now, WFA and WFH programs are used as a recruiting tactic. As with any major shift in the workplace, there are many benefits and drawbacks that present unique challenges to different employers in different industries.

Harvard Business Review Study: WFO v. WFA

While WFA has grown out of WFH programs, there are some differences in the benefits and challenges presented with a workforce that is located “anywhere”. Harvard Business Review conducted a study in which they studied the effects of a WFA program initiated in 2012. The study followed patent examiners at the USPTO. The focus of the study was to analyze the productivity of these examiners after the switch from WFH options to WFA. The results of this study showed a 4.4% increase in productivity after the switch. Additionally, there was no significant increase in the amount of work revision that needed to take place after the switch. Moreover, there was no indication that the patent quality decreased after the switch. Harvard Business Review estimated that the 4.4% increase in productivity represents up to $1.3 billion in added value to the U.S. Economy. As a fringe benefit of the WFA implementation, the study also observed that there was an uptick among WFA employees relocating to places with lower cost of living. When the WFA employees relocated while retaining their original salary, they effectively gave themselves a raise without any economic impact on their employer.

Companies Capitalizing on WFH and WFA

An interesting feature of this trend is the technology supporting WFA and WFH options. Companies such as Slack and Zoom have streamlined remote communication. Both of these companies have been hugely successful featuring multibillion-dollar IPOs. In addition to streamline communication and remote connection, other companies such as WeWork and Regus have capitalized on creating flexible workspace that can be used to support an alternative  workplace configuration.

Benefits of WFH/WFA Option:

  • Flexibility
  • Continuous Access to Work Materials
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Increased Productivity
  • Health
  • Reduced Absenteeism
  • Greater Retention of Talent
  • Recruitment
  • Workplace Content
  • Greater Autonomy

Challenges of WFH/WFA Option:

  • Organization
  • Collaboration
  • Miscommunication
  • Reduced Oversight
  • Less Sense of Community
  • Continuous Access to Work Materials


  1. How can Entrepreneurs capitalize on the WFA movement?
  2. What challenges does the WFA movement present for Entrepreneurs?
  3. How are law firms reacting to the WFA movement?
  4. Is WFA good for everyone? If not, why not?


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