2020’s Remote Work Is The Exception No Business Wanted

The sudden arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust every organization into a patchwork of unplanned workforce responses. Companies have had to quickly get as many of their personnel into a safe and productive work situation as possible, with most of them working remotely at least somewhat, if not completely — leaving about 30% of workers, many of them in essential roles, who can’t work remotely at all. Due to this, many workers are testing their remote work capabilities for the first time and under conditions that are hardly likely to promote sustainable success. Predictably, this causes some executives to long to get everybody back to the office, where they can resume “normal” operations.

That isn’t going to happen. More importantly, it shouldn’t happen. Instead, as my colleagues and I explain below, your remote work policy needs a complete rethink.


It’s time to move beyond your hastily constructed remote work policies, which only meet today’s short-run challenges. Instead, move beyond mere policy and join in the shift to a strategy that builds what we call “anywhere work” into the foundations of the organization.

An anywhere-work strategy recognizes that employee engagement leads to better customer outcomes and works from there to provide technological, cultural, and leadership resources to support work from any location, enabling individual employees and entire teams to operate on an even playing field wherever they are.

An Anywhere-Work Strategy Is About People First, Place Second

The definition of anywhere work is grounded in the reality that an organization that prioritizes employee engagement will more successfully deliver customer-obsessed outcomes. Rather than assume that centralized locations are the best way to engage workers and provide those outcomes, the anywhere-work approach recognizes that people — employees, prospective talent, managers, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem — all have preferences that, post-pandemic, will now constitute a genuine pressure wave that will break the traditional definition of and the boundary between in-office vs. home-based work.

Clients can read the exciting new report from Forrester’s future-of-work team, “Use The Lessons Of 2020 To Create Your Anywhere-Work Strategy.” This report lays out the decisions companies must make to decide what level of anywhere work they will choose to enable and how to deploy the technology, craft the culture, and build the leadership habits that make anywhere work not only possible but turn it into a dynamo of employee engagement leading to increased value for customers.

Get your anywhere-work strategy to shape fast. Learn more from my brilliant colleagues about how to manage the following aspects (client access required):