Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Why anywell CEO believes people do want to work from home – Employee Benefit News


While millions of remote and hybrid employees are benefitting from a reduced commute and increased day-to-day flexibility, working from home still comes with limitations. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly two-thirds of people working from home reported feeling isolated, and over two-thirds reported having trouble getting from work at the end of the day. While returning to the workplace is one option, Gadi Royz, CEO of workspace marketplace anywell, believes there’s a better way.  

“The idea of working from home for the rest of our careers is just not sustainable,” says Royz. “Fortunately, there are a bunch of ways to work remotely, and there is a third space.”

Read more: 10 countries where you can work less and make more

The “third space” workplace can be a hotel rooftop, restaurant or favorite cafe that employees already frequent in their daily lives. Anywell creates a marketplace in which employers partner with these third spaces to provide accommodations like Wifi access, meal plans and guaranteed seating. Workers just have to pick an available venue they wish to work from that day on the anywell app. 

Arguably, with COVID variants still evolving and new public health threats like monkeypox and polio entering the picture, a “third space” may not be optimal for those taking more precautions. However, Royz imagines that alternative workspaces will be the future as the workplace becomes more decentralized and globalized. EBN spoke with Royz to gain more insight into the next evolution of how we work. 

How has the workplace changed in the last few years?
While COVID accelerated change, the workplace is always undergoing tectonic change. Work began in caves. Then 200 years ago, the industrial revolution changed the way people work and everyone found themselves in factories. One hundred years later, the office has become the main place to work, particularly for knowledge workers. We’ve seen constant change within the office as well, moving from cubicles to coworking spaces that emerged 30 years ago. Even before the pandemic, we’ve seen a movement towards a decentralized model. Now we are in the midst of another evolution, where offices are becoming more like headquarters. 

Read more: 10 companies that offer remote positions and student loan assistance

What challenges come with taking work home?
The fact that people are not collaborating and the fact that people are stuck at home has a cost. The Great Resignation is such a widespread phenomenon in part because people are less socially connected to the organizations and feel less obliged to take part in the bigger story at their company. That’s the hidden cost of decentralized work.

But ‘decentralized’ does not have to mean divided. By creating a marketplace just for hosts of third spaces, employers and workers, organizations can encourage employees to work together outside the office and even have group meetings on their non-office days. 

How do third spaces like hotels and coffee shops benefit from this model, too? 
You can sit in a coffee shop, drinking espresso for four hours, and it will only cost you maybe $4. That sounds like a good bargain for the employee. However, this affordable luxury costs more than $4 for the host. These hosts, who survived two years of the pandemic, are now witnessing a rise of knowledge workers squatting for quite some time. This is not sustainable, since this limits the turnover of customers. 

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