“Work From Anywhere” Comes Full Circle


Work from anywhere has been a necessity, an epithet, an obstacle, and an opportunity over the last 3 years. To paraphrase Aristotle’s axiom about Nature (“Horror Vacui”), business abhors a vacuum. Where one occurs, it is quickly filled.

Work from anywhere started as a COVID-induced necessity. During the lockdowns of 2020-2021 (and longer in some places) we all had a crash course in video calling, VPNs, and virtual meetings.

Employees quickly expanded the definition of anywhere. They tired of shunting the children off to a bedroom during conference calls, or using office-like backdrops to hide their kitchen cabinets. Soon they began changing their backgrounds to something more aspirational, like a mountain cabin or a scenic lake.

From there it wasn’t much of a leap to make the mental shift from a make-believe environment to a physical one. Pretty soon employees were calling in from real mountain cabins. In many cases, they shifted to someplace where the cost of living was much lower than in their former metropolitan workspace.

Work from Anywhere as an epithet and an obstacle

As employees moved further afield from their office environment, bosses began to sound off. “We aren’t going to pay Los Angeles wages to someone who has a Boise cost of living,” was a commonly heard complaint.  Most put up with it because qualified help was getting harder to find. Hiring remotely was too hard a new skill to master.

The complaints of employers grew louder as they began to ask employees to return to their former location of working activity. They made arguments about deteriorating corporate culture or a lack of mentoring opportunities.

At the same time, stories surfaced about workers who were getting full-time paychecks from multiple employers, or who were “quiet quitting” by doing as little as possible. The “Great Resignation” forced many organizations to put up with it. If you wanted to keep employees, you needed to accommodate their demands.

Then the work-from-anywhere poaching started. If an employee could do the job from a thousand miles away, why not just hire people from a thousand miles away? Now recruiters could dangle Los Angeles wages at candidates from Boise. Many employers saw work from anywhere as a curse costing them their best talent.

Work from Anywhere as an Opportunity

But as I said at the outset, business abhors a vacuum. Every action has a reaction. When the job can be done from anywhere, does that mean anywhere?

work from anywhereIf the higher cost of living centers can fill their needs by hiring people who are accustomed to earning less, why shouldn’t employers look at those candidates before the local talent? The Internet allows almost-instant communication across countries, what about across oceans?

In the last few months, I’ve worked with employers who are hiring accountants in India, staffing recruiters in the Philippines, programmers in Argentina, support techs in Colombia, and screening nurses in Nicaragua.  None of these employers are multinationals. Each one fits the SBA’s definition of a small business.

Their new employees are educated, English speaking, have the same hours as the employer, and are thrilled for the opportunity. Some are hired directly through a local placement agency. Others work for an organization in their home country that makes them exclusive to the client and promises to replace them if needed.

Most of the wages appear to be about 50% more than the same job would pay in the country of residence, and roughly half of what the position in the U.S. would cost.

Business has once again filled a vacuum. I wonder what is next?


This article was originally published by John F. Dini, CBEC, CExP, CEPA on awakeat2oclock.com. John develops transition and succession strategies that allow business owners to exit their companies on their own schedule, with the proceeds they seek and complete control over the process. He takes a coaching approach to client engagements, focusing on helping owners of companies with $1M to $250M in revenue achieve both their desired lifestyles and legacies.

Updated: Feb 13, 2024

About the author
John Dini of The Exit Planning Coach is a member of XPX San Antonio

I have owned companies in manufacturing, distribution and services, along with well over 10,000 hours of coaching business owners. I will understand your business and your objectives.