Employee Experience

Defining “Work from Anywhere”: It’s Complicated! An SAP Concur Podcast Conversation with EY

Kathryn Kamin |

Before the pandemic, few employees realistically thought the concept of “work from anywhere” would ever truly be viable. Now, after working in hybrid environments since early 2020, many people want their organizations to move toward a new model of working – and that’s leading organizations to ask unexpected existential and logistical questions about what they want to be and how they’re going to get there.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Amazon | Spotify Listen Notes Acast | Google or read the transcript.


Counting on employee loyalty? Don’t.

D’Argenio says that employee expectations around work have significantly shifted since the pandemic began. After surveying 16,000 employees in 16 countries, EY research found that:

  • Nine out of 10 employees want flexibility in where or when they work
  • Employees expect to work two or three days remotely
  • More than half (54%) are likely to quit if they aren’t offered the flexibility they want, with Millennials almost twice as likely to quite as Baby Boomers

The Great Resignation is in full swing as employees demand more from their employers, and they’re less hesitant to leave if employers don’t deliver. This means stakes are high as companies try to adapt, D’Argenio says.

“There's tremendous opportunity for companies to redefine who they want to be right now,” D’Argenio notes. “So as companies are thinking about this, they’re thinking about new strategies.”

What does “hybrid” mean? Well, it depends…

The numerous ways that organizations can define what a “hybrid” environment looks like is making things more confusing for companies as they try to develop policies to address all the ramifications of working remotely.

“As companies are thinking about what [remote work] really means,” says D’Argenio, “they’re thinking…Do we require presence for certain days? Do we leave it open for flexibility? What will really promote the best working environment and get from employees that experience they're looking for when they come together in the office?”

In addition to considering how their policies will affect how their employees work, they also need to think about how hybrid work influences their overall business practices. For instance, if employees live in other states or even other countries, that could have implications for your reporting and withholding obligations in those regions. Or if you decide to offer reimbursements for business expenses, such as Internet access or office supplies, to employees who no longer commute to the office, you’ll need to consider tax-efficient ways to do it.

For many organizations, putting their policies and processes under a microscope could be a good thing.

“This does represent a great opportunity…for companies to be thinking about how they can leverage their procurement function,” D’Argenio suggests, “to look at what is being spent, how it's being spent, and where it's being spent.”

No more shots in the dark

Whether your company operates in one country or 50, you need the right back-end infrastructure to keep your business moving. Hybrid work environments are redefining what this infrastructure could look like, and organizations need to reevaluate their priorities: They can’t afford to guess which resources or levels of support for those resources are needed. Potential areas to review could include:

  • Facility budgets
  • Reporting workflows
  • Digital receipts
  • Negotiated vendor rates
  • Digital access for audits
  • Emissions reports

D’Argenio says data from areas like these can be critical in ensuring your infrastructure can effectively support a hybrid environment.

“We're encouraging organizations to use the data from these tools, from this integrated solution,” she notes, “to build trends so that leaders can implement the right return-to-work policy or remote work policy.”

To get help developing the right remote and return-to-work policy for your business, contact us today.  

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