The abrupt pandemic outbreak and a cascade of lockdowns in 2020 had successfully pushed employers to normalise home working and acknowledge that work does not have to be confined to traditional offices. It also prompted the workforce to reshuffle their priorities in life and demand better work-life balance from employers. Now, as we are approaching the end of the pandemic, smarter job search engine Adzuna spots the next workplace trend: Work from anywhere. 

As its name suggests, work from anywhere refers to a new way of working where employees can complete their tasks in any desired location. It could be the physical office, their home, cafes, co-working spaces, and even vacation spots. 

In 2022, more employers in the UK are pursuing this remote working trend. Compared with 2021, there has been a steady and gradual positive growth in the number of monthly ‘work from anywhere’ job openings. Meanwhile, similar perks such as sabbatical programmes are gaining popularity among employers. There are close to 2,000 vacancies featuring employee sabbatical programmes currently on offer, and nearly a third of them are paid. The surges in ‘work from anywhere’ and ‘employees sabbatical programmes’ jobs are potentially driven by the removal of Covid-19 travel restrictions globally and a strong rebound in international tourism. According to ONS data, UK residents made 5.6 million visits overseas in April 2022. Comparably, there were just 260,000 visits by air in April 2021.

This new way of working was most prevalent among job ads in April 2022. More than 2,000 ‘work from anywhere’ jobs were recorded across the UK, 412% higher or 1,747 more jobs than the same time last year. Interestingly, by official figures, for the first time in a decade, the total number of job vacancies reached the highest during this period. 

As the cost of living crisis deepens, hiring has cooled slightly since April. Hence, the upward streak was halted between May and September. That said, the number and proportion of ‘work from anywhere’ job vacancies within the period remained higher than in 2021, signifying the trend is here to stay. In September 2022, there were 1,034 ‘work from anywhere’ vacancies, a 48% year-on-year increase. The proportion of these job openings rose from 0.06% in 2021 to 0.09%. 

Of all sectors, the tech-savvy IT sector is the most forward-thinking. In September, 480 jobs provided the ‘work from anywhere’ option. Companies including Appsbroker, Cooper Parry, insurer Marshmallow, Ocado Group, Salesforce, Spotify, and Sega have already jumped on the trend.

Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Wanderlust and work no longer need be incompatible. The pandemic accelerated the move to hybrid and remote working, particularly in white collar sectors like IT, Finance and Consultancy. Employees have got used to fitting their work around their life, rather than fitting their life around their work, and they want to keep those priorities straight. Now travel is back on the cards, for many people that means working and travelling concurrently. The rise of ‘work from anywhere’ is a response to shifting priorities and the demand for more. Since January 2021, we’ve seen steady increases in employers offering the perk, with big brands like Spotify pioneering the way. While the talent-desperate Tech sector has been quick to follow suit, our data shows other white collar industries have been slower to adopt work from anywhere policies. But the writing is on the wall and many sectors will likely consider becoming more digital nomad friendly as a means to attract and retain talent, particularly those like Tech that have historically relied more on younger workers. There will always be smallprint – visa restrictions, tax implications, and timezone coordinations to name just a few – but ultimately offering more workplace flexibility is the future, particularly when it comes to hiring Gen Z workers.”   

 

Table 1: The rise in ‘work from anywhere’

Month Monthly advertised ‘work from anywhere’ job vacancies Proportion of ‘work from anywhere’ job vacancies Year-on-year change in ‘work from anywhere’ job vacancies
Jan 2021 241 0.04%
Feb 2021 388 0.05%
Mar 2021 440 0.06%
Apr 2021 424 0.05%
May 2021 496 0.05%
Jun 2021 535 0.05%
July 2021 575 0.05%
Aug 2021 556 0.05%
Sep 2021 699 0.06%
Oct 2021 1,023 0.08%
Nov 2021 1,199 0.09%
Dec 2021 1,000 0.08%
Jan 2022 1,326 0.11% +450%
Feb 2022 1,682 0.13% +334%
Mar 2022 1,783 0.14% +305%
Apr 2022 2,171 0.17% +412%
May 2022 1,904 0.15% +302%
Jun 2022 1,669 0.14% +212%
Jul 2022 1,589 0.14% +176%
Aug 2022 1,345 0.12% +142%
Sep 2022 1,034 0.09% +48%

 

Table 2: Top ‘work from anywhere’ sectors, September 2022

Sector Advertised ‘work from anywhere’ job vacancies, 

September ‘22

IT  480
PR 118
Sales  115
Creative & Design  70
Accounting & Finance  63
HR & Recruitment  35
Customer Services 32
Admin  27
Consultancy  24
Graduate  18