The Advantages of Work from Anywhere


Synopsis: The new policy of Work from anywhere gained momentum during the pandemic. It has multiple benefits for all stakeholders.

Background

  • Lack of clarity and flexibility in the US H-1B visa Programme remains major concerns for high-skilled Indian migrants, seeking to relocate to the U.S.
  • This uncertainty was high during the Trump administration, with visa denial rates rising significantly.
  • With the new administration in the US, reforms of the immigration system became a priority.
  • However, bringing reforms will take more time owing to the lack of consensus among the political forces in the U.S.
  • In this scenario, the new Work from Anywhere policy is gaining acceptance among corporates. It has the potential to mitigate the dependence on H-1B visas.

What are the reforms proposed by Mr. Biden to ease the immigration system?

Mr. Biden wants to ease the legal immigration for both family-based and employment-based migrants.

  • First, for the high skilled population, he proposed the removal of country-specific quotas for employment-based visas. A green card for STEM Ph.D. students pursuing from a U.S. institution is also in the proposal.
  • Second, the current H-4 visa holders (spouses and children of H-1B visa holders) will be made eligible for work permits.
  • However, given the partisan divisions in the U.S. legislature, it is unlikely that the proposal in its current form will become a law.
  • But for those skilled workers hoping to access U.S.-based opportunities have an alternative option of Work from Anywhere.
What are the benefits of the Work From Anywhere (WFA) policy?
  1. First, benefits for the workers: It grants individuals the choice to live in their preferred locations without the need of commuting to an office. Whereas the traditional work-from-home (WFH) model allows workers WFH a few days every week.
      • WFA allows workers to relocate to their hometown, be closer to family and friends, manage dual career situations.
      • Workers can also benefit by moving to (or continuing to live in) a lower cost-of-living location.
  2. Second, benefits for the organisation: WFA allows new companies to access a global pool of talent with relatively low investment in office space.
      • It can also help to reduce real estate costs of the organization as the workforce shifts to remote work.
      • Also, it helps to increase the efficiency of workers. For example, According to research, worker productivity under a work-from-anywhere policy increased  4.4% compared to the traditional work-from-home environments.
  3. Third, benefits for the society. Society, too, can benefit, as daily work commutes are a major source of carbon emissions.
      • According to research shifting to remote work cut emissions by their employees by more than 44,000 tons.
TCS case study
  1. Recently, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that its 400,000-plus employees will be 75% remote by 2025.
  2. TCS has rolled out a ‘25-25 remote-work model’:
      • 25% of the workforce will be in a physical office at any one time
      • Also, workers will  be expected to work from an office for  only 25% of their working hours,
  3. The Harvard Business School explored the changes being implemented by TCS and identified the following advantages.
      • One, this model enables TCS clients to access the best talent within TCS, independent of the location of talent.
      • Two, the model also offers TCS employees an opportunity to simultaneously work on multiple projects around the globe. It doesn’t require relocation to the client site or worrying about immigration.

The TCS example shows how work-from-anywhere can help Indian companies and workers mitigate the challenges of immigration.


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