Here’s a question I’ve been thinking about: When you can work from anywhere, what does “going to work” even mean anymore?
“It’s been more than two years since the rules of the working world snapped,” wrote Emma Goldberg in her New York Times article “The Office’s Last Stand.” One of those rules used to be that usually, you moved to be close to the job you wanted. That might be changing, as Steve Black, a chief strategy officer at HR tech company Topia, pointed out. “One organization I spoke to had employees updating their mailing address because they were sending out sweatshirts. They found people in random places around the globe.”
As the workplace becomes more flexible, employees are still enjoying remote work and the opportunities it opens up for them. Say hello to what I’ve been calling the “untethered worker” – now less hindered by staying close to “the office” because the office is at home, these are workers who are taking advantage of travel plans and living arrangements more freely.
So, here’s the real question: When employees can work from anywhere (and often are), how do you still make them feel like they’re part of a team?
Work From Wherever You Are
Working while traveling is not a new thing. About 45 years ago, SanMar founder Marty Lott was often on the road in the family van to meet with potential customers, complete with family. Talk about living the van life! Marty was a trendsetter in more ways than one.
What’s changed in the last couple years is that more people are working remotely and turning remote work into an opportunity to travel more and work while away. Dennis Consorte, writing for Entrepreneur, describes this as the workcation. “Today, workcations can help us to maintain our sanity and avoid burnout in a remote-first environment.”
The #vanlife ethos also continues to influence this trend, as an increasingly viable way to work from the road in a van or a camper. The requirements for this are pretty basic – a reliable source of power and a steady wi-fi connection are essential, and a roomy workspace is ideal.
You also need something that will carry all your stuff, and this is the perfect opportunity for a company who wants to make sure everyone on the team feels included – even when they’re away from the office. Any organization can show their support for their digital nomads with a branded messenger bag, backpack or duffel. Add your company logo in a prominent place to send a positive reminder about your team every time they use it.
A Decentralized Workplace
The final conclusion about the hybrid workplace is still being debated, but so far it’s not hard to find agreement on one point: after two years of remote work, the hybrid office is kind of exhausting. About 80 percent of workplace leaders report that their employees are more drained by a hybrid arrangement, and workers themselves also reported that “hybrid was more emotionally taxing than fully remote arrangements – and even full-time office-based work.”
This might be why more people are looking for jobs that offer remote work than ever before, with some taking the additional step of moving where they want to live rather than where they need to be for work. If your job no longer requires you to be in the Seattle office every week, that dream home in Montana suddenly looks like more of a reality.
These workers are looking to feel comfortable where they are, and you can show your support for that by meeting them where they are and making sure you have options available that help them feel confident in what they’re wearing. Branded tunics and Henleys carry an elevated professional look to help the worker feel recognized and accepted, and feature a more generous cut to remain as comfortable as any weekend wear. Whether it’s a stretch pique full-button polo or a simple mineral-dyed t-shirt, these styles send a message that they’re an important part of the team.
For those who have dreamt of being untethered from their work to live a different kind of life, their dream has never been more within reach than it is right now. The adventure is waiting, an exciting potential for endless possibilities. But it may also feel risky and uncertain. This is where you come in.
Whether they’re working from the road or from their new home in a different state, the untethered worker still wants to be part of the team. By considering their needs and providing pieces that they’ll feel good about wearing and using, you’ll help them feel accepted, respected and valued.
Speaking of hybrids (you see what I did there, right?), next month will be looking at how our new blended lifestyle is feeding an equally blended fashion style, especially in the Workleisure and Power Casual trends. I hope you’ll join us then!