A recent study conducted by SAP Concur underscores the importance of embracing the ‘Working from Anywhere’ (WFA) model, revealing that companies may be jeopardising employee satisfaction by not adopting this trend. The research, spanning Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), unveils insights that find a significant two-thirds of employees are willing to accept a salary reduction to enjoy the privilege of permanent WFA arrangements with nearly half of employees expressing a willingness to seek new job opportunities if their current employer doesn’t offer this option.
In light of this, Gabriele Indrieri, Vice President and Managing Director for SAP Concur EMEA South, emphasises the growing importance of 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.”
While 75% of employees believe WFA would boost their job satisfaction, only 59% of HR and finance leaders share this sentiment. With this in mind, Indrieri points out the most significant perceived obstacle: concerns about diminished team spirit within the company. “It’s for this reason that HR leaders need to carefully assess cultural challenges when considering the adoption of WFA policies.”
He also highlights the importance of balancing employee well-being with business concerns, with 67% of employees believing WFA could positively impact their mental and physical health. “However, 61% of HR leaders remain uncertain about the implications of their duty of care obligations regarding employees working abroad.”
Indrieri acknowledges the growing recognition among leaders that improvements are necessary. “Leaders are starting to realise that with adjusted business processes and enhanced expense management technology, employees can effectively work from anywhere. This is shared by 66% 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 sheds light on the well-being of HR practitioners, with 57% of leaders acknowledging increased stress and burnout resulting from managing employees working from anywhere abroad. “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.