Forget WFH. Working Near Home is the Next Big Thing

It seems like popular business terms don’t live very long these days. Like mayflies, which live less than a day, popular business terms die off pretty fast.

The difference is that unlike mayflies, business terms are usually replaced by different kinds of business terms.

Consider WFH

WFH, which stands for Work from Home, is an example. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been hearing this term used a lot, in sentences like these . . .

  • “We have moved to a WFH model.”

  • “Just about all our people WFH.”

  • “We WFH, and I don’t imagine we will ever go back to working home office again.” (Please note that “Working Home Office Again,” if it ever catches on, would become WHOA.)

So What is WNH and Why Could I Be the Next Big Thing?

“WFH Is Old News. The ‘Near Home’ Office Is the Next Big Thing,” an article by Marcus Ashworth and Elisa Martinuzzi in Bloomburg Finance on November 9, 2020, is of of a growing number of articles that are tagging WNH, or Working Near Home, as a coming trend.

The authors write that companies and their employees are finding that Working Near Home is better than WFH.

The authors cite these reasons:

  • It’s catching on in other countries. Standard Chartered Plc, a bank that employs 85,000 people in 55 countries, is moving strongly to have more of its employees take the WNH option. The authors also note that Deloitte has recently closed four large offices in the UK, in favor of offering employees the option to WNH. And when a trend works well for businesses in one country, it can migrate to others.

  • WNH supports “hub and spoke” configurations, which are growing in popularity. Hub and spoke  means that headquarters (the “hub”) is connected to by spokes to a number of satellite locations. This configuration is working well Standard Chartered Plc in countries like Poland and Malaysia.

  • WNH saves money. Companies can save money by using smaller satellite work spaces instead of a large central location.

  • WNH provides flexibility that employees like. Workers can WFH a few days a week, then WNH on the others. Employees welcome that flexibility. For example, Ashworth and Martinuzzi report that Italy’s UniCredit SpA has recently offered staff the choice of permanently working remotely on two days a week.

So is the face of working in America – and around the world – changing fast? Yes, it is.

But the bigger question might be, how can these changes benefit your company – in lowered costs, happier employees, improved productivity . . . just how?

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