A recent study conducted by SAP Concur highlights the significance of embracing the ‘Working from Anywhere’ (WFA) model. The research, covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), reveals that companies may be compromising employee satisfaction by not adopting this trend. The study indicates that a considerable two-thirds of employees are willing to accept a salary reduction to have the benefit of permanent WFA arrangements. Additionally, almost half of the employees express a willingness to explore new job opportunities if their current employer does not offer this option.
Gabriele Indrieri, vice president and managing director for SAP Concur EMEA South, highlights the increasing significance of implementing WFA policies in the workplace. “This has become a highly coveted perk, now ranking alongside essential office job benefits like health insurance and bonuses. This shift is driven by employees’ increasing desire for flexibility, a trend that some HR and finance leaders may not fully grasp.”
Enhancing job satisfaction
According to the study, 75 percent of employees believe that adopting WFA would enhance their job satisfaction. However, only 59 percent of HR and finance leaders share the same view. In light of this, Indrieri highlights a significant perceived obstacle: concerns about potential negative impacts on team spirit within the company. Indrieri stressed the need for HR leaders to thoroughly evaluate cultural challenges when contemplating the implementation of WFA policies.
Furthermore, he underscores the significance of striking a balance between employee well-being and business considerations. The study reveals that 67 percent of employees believe that WFA could have a positive impact on their mental and physical health. However, 61 percent of HR leaders express uncertainty regarding their duty of care obligations for employees working in foreign locations.
Need for improvements
Indrieri acknowledges the increasing recognition among leaders of the need for improvements. “Leaders are starting to realize that with adjusted business processes and enhanced expense management technology, employees can effectively work from anywhere. This is shared by 66 percent of HR leaders who believe significant process changes are required, particularly in payroll and benefits management, due to the reliance on too many manual procedures.”
The study also highlights the well-being of HR practitioners, revealing that 57 percent of leaders acknowledge experiencing increased stress and burnout due to managing employees working from abroad in various locations. “Our research clearly indicates that despite employees valuing WFA as an essential perk, various challenges need mitigation. Technological hurdles and manual processes can hinder productivity. Moreover, the duty of care becomes complex when considering that 18% of employees have worked abroad without employer disclosure.”
“Balancing flexibility and duty of care is a crucial yet intricate task, but when combined with comprehensive partner ecosystems to unlock the potential of WFA, businesses can enhance job satisfaction and equip HR leaders to navigate the evolving workplace landscape confidently,” Indrieri concludes.
SAP Concur’s report, titled ‘The Work from Anywhere Employee Benefit and Its Implications for Business,’ presents insights collected from 835 HR decision-makers, 835 finance decision-makers, and 1,670 employees across the EMEA region.
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