How is Remote Work Changing the Global Economy
Table of Contents
Creativity, diversity, and innovation have been integral to the nature of the workplace throughout all generations. Businesses from every region of the world seek new ways to attract and retain the best talents and customers from the market. The successful impacts of globalization on companies globally have provided great outlooks for other organizations as to how they can benefit from expanding globally. Although the spread of globalization was met by the lack of accessible resources required for effective reaching out and expansion, the advancement in technology has brought about ease and minimized the limitations surrounding international expansion.
In today’s world, technology has paved the way for continuous improvement and tremendous changes within and outside the limit of organizations around the globe. The significance of technological tools and techniques has made their application necessary in the operation of people and companies. Amazingly, organizations and individuals that fail to apply and update themselves technologically cannot be productive, progressive, or profitable. One of the major contributions of technology in the workplace is the introduction of the “remote work” concept. Due to the extensive application of this term, it has been regularly used interchangeably with several other terms such as “work from home” and “telework.” However, each of these terms has its special uniqueness and applications.
The idea of businesses and employees working remotely can be traced back to some decades ago when business responsibilities and operations were carried out in various independent locations. However, the popularity was significantly affected by the rise in industrialization as people were required to work from a centralized location. Although the rise in technological advancement had seen the application of remote work increase over the last two decades, the advent of Covid-19 in 2020 brought about the adoption of virtual activities with ease and high acceptance.
The benefits of technological advancement, globalization, and working remotely are crucial in providing businesses with a solid stance in any nation of the world. Companies that have adopted these three concepts in their operations and policies have expanded internationally, increased their productivity and profit margins, and strengthened their global market. However, if proper steps and instructions are not followed, global expansion can be risky and dangerous. Thus, organizations interested in pushing their businesses beyond borders must ensure they carefully follow all the required approaches independently or partner with a reliable international professional employment organization (International PEO) such as WeHireGlobally.
In this master guide, the whole concept of remote work will be completely demystified. We will establish the major reasons why many businesses across the globe are working remotely, the advantages and disadvantages associated with this style of work, and how businesses can successfully and safely manage their virtual teams. Furthermore, the light will be shed on the importance and significance of international PEOs in going global, dealing with remote workers, complying with international laws and policies, etc. Nevertheless, you will get the chance to learn how all the concepts explained in this guide greatly contribute to your business and the global economy at large.
What is Remote Work?
Over time, there have been several definitions given to the concept of working remotely. However, in a very simple term, remote work refers to a system of work that gives employers and employees the chance to work in locations outside the company’s conventional office space. This working style allows people to work from anywhere other than their offices. They use places like a professional hub, co-working space, coffee shop, library, personal homes, etc. There is no limit as to where work can be carried out remotely; so far, the space is conducive and enabled for the work you are meant to carry out. This style of work comes with the mindset that you don’t have to be in your office before you can successfully and efficiently carry out some business operations.
While working remotely, employees can dress the way that best suits their work, the working environment, and the working condition. Except there are executive or team meetings, there is no important dress code for remote workers. Furthermore, collaboration and communication in a virtual environment are mostly via digital tools. For instance, meetings are held via video teleconferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. Teams connect and collaborate via tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. Work sharing and team management are carried out with tools such as Jira, Confluence, Trello, Google Workspace, etc. Employers and employees no longer need to move files and documents from one office to another. Tasks are accomplished efficiently and effectively in a remote system of work.
Covid-19 and Remote Work
The pandemic came as a shocker to many employers and their employees. In short, it met most organizations unprepared. The lockdown made several businesses close off physical activities and lay off some of their workers. The unforeseen events of the lockdown and the widespread of the virus pose the opportunity for the quick adoption of remote work in workplaces. Companies with the right resources were the first to integrate the new workplace style into their operations. Other organizations had to start sourcing and learning about the approaches involved in working remotely. As soon as it was confirmed that the pandemic was not going away any time soon, the embracement of remote work became a necessity for most businesses.
The unanimous adoption of the new style of work wasn’t an easy switch for most companies, especially those that are new to the system. Employers had to implement several virtual infrastructures, develop effective and efficient remote policies, a structured employee support system, updated compensation packages, and many more. Companies that could learn and apply the principles could continue their businesses at a certain pace; the ones that couldn’t meet up fell to the bottom of the pyramid. To keep workflow going and ensure continuity in operation, employers channeled more resources and investments into the well-being of their workers.
The Working Principles of Remote Work
Whether we like it or not, the remote style of work is here to stay. Interestingly, surveys by PwC and McKinsey have shown that in a few decades, remote work might become the commonest style of work. However, many companies are still fettered by the working principle of this new workplace system. While some employers are learning the principles with fast approaches, some business owners are still reluctant, arrogant, and lackadaisical about taking the right steps toward the new system of work.
Basically, a very functional remote style of work is one in which cultural gears, technological gears, and several active processing gears are in place and effectively mixed to create a productive, profitable, and enabling ecosystem for you and your workers to successfully execute business operations from any locations of choice and comfort.
What Employers need to know
There are several things every employer must be aware of in handling remote operations in their respective companies. Unlike the traditionally centralized office workplace, remote work has its own uniqueness and attributes. This section will highlight key details and information that must be constant in every remote work environment.
Working remotely is a very valuable work style for both employees and employers. Unlike the conventional office workplace, virtual office space gives all the parties involved the needed flexibility in handling jobs and completing responsibilities. It helps in bringing efficiency and value to the team. Workers don’t need to worry about going to their traditional offices and getting tired. They can just choose a comfortable place for themselves to use. Furthermore, there is a handful decrease in the rate at which people get distracted from their work while working remotely. Remote work gives liability but not the liability to do the right thing at the right time. Employers should understand that remote working gives companies the ability to easily embrace the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion since they can access a talent pool of any gender, tribe, ability, and level of knowledge and qualifications.
Since everyone can work from wherever they want, employers must be ready to invest in the development and infrastructure of their employees actively. As an employer, you must ensure that your organization provides its staff with the needed frameworks and tools for effective communication and collaboration. Since they are working from their desired space of efficiency and comfort, you have the responsibility of making them enjoy some essential things they would have enjoyed in a traditional office. Employers should assist their employees in making a premium subscription for technical tools and platforms, end-to-end monitoring and evaluation framework must be built, and there must be a proper communication and feedback system to ensure progress and productivity, etc.
A very important point every employer must take note of is that working remotely has not axed out the reliability of your company’s policies and cultural practices. Someone once said, “the absence of systems and structure in a business is like the absence of foundation in a building.” Another person said, “policies and cultural practices must be strongly sustained in any organization in a bid to keep the organization’s goals and vision in motion.” Employers who fail to sustain their culture in a remote workplace will soon find out that all they’ve built might come crashing one day. Thus, it’s essential for companies to strictly hold on to their traditional systems and structure of operations. However, as an employer, you must learn to adjust your term of service while dealing with remote employees. Terms regarding routines, time, dress codes, launch hours, etc., should be adjusted to the taste of a remote lifestyle.
The last point that will be touched on in this section is that employers must consistently ensure that their employees are well taken care of and that they are properly managed. Failure to adhere to proper employee management can lead to a lack of interest and efficiency, loyalty loss, employee turnover, etc. Thus, companies must learn and apply the best act of managing their employees. This can be done by providing them with the right benefits and compensations, opportunities for growth and development, working tools and resources, etc. This will give your workers the mindset of being valued and accepted in your company.
What Employees need to know
It’s already been established several times in this article that carrying out tasks remotely gives room for a lot of opportunities and flexibility. As long as an employee is doing the right thing at the right time, he/she can choose the best working condition and environment for himself/herself. The fascinating folktale of remote work is the fact that work can be carried out correctly and efficiently in another location and condition that makes the most sense and best suits the worker and work to be done.
Employees can set up a personal office space to work remotely. Other locations, such as cafés, coffee shops, co-working hubs, etc., can be used as a remote workspace. No matter the location an employee will be working from, great attention must be paid to the enabling factors in that environment. For instance, a noisy and dirty environment is not an ideal workspace. It’s obviously not good for the employee’s health. It is also not okay to be considered a working environment since it won’t be useful for a team meeting or presentation. Furthermore, employers can encourage their workers to get technical gadgets such as light rings, tripod stands, microphones, headphones, work tables/desks, executive chairs, cups, sources of water or tea, etc. These gadgets are important in providing the employee with the best remote experiences. The company can also invest in their employees by providing these gadgets for them.
A proper system and structure of work must be established while working remotely. This means that although work can be carried out at flexible times and locations, employers must ensure that their staff builds a proper system and structure in a bid to enhance efficiency and productivity. Companies should inculcate good time management habits in their workers. Although the worker isn’t going to a common workspace, he/she must have fixed working hours, i.e. there should be a time to resume and close off work. Employees must be regularly reminded that there are certain things they can and must do and things that can’t and must not. Again, this is a call for an innovative remote work policy.
Lastly, working remotely must be done with a conscious effort to display adaptation, creativity, and innovation while achieving efficiency, profitability, and productivity. Every party in an organization must be willing to adapt to the new normal. Employers must adapt the work ethics and management principles of handling remote workers. Workers must adapt to the consciousness of work while operating remotely. Creativity and innovation should be core values in optimally utilizing a workspace and delivering quality and excellent results. Furthermore, companies must implement all the required frameworks to ensure that the switch in the workspace achieves similar or higher profits and productivity. Connection, communication, and collaboration must not be dented in the absence of physical connections and interactions.
How to Manage Remote Staff
In remote work, proper management of the staff is key and very important. Improper management and supervision will lead to a lack of productivity and an increase in demoralization. In remote work, employees are dispersed across different locations, making supervision and coordination a tough task. Companies must be able to draw out a good plan and strategy for who is who, when something must be started, reported, and completed, how things should be carried out, where tasks and communication must be channeled rightly, etc.
Initiate Regular Check-ins
One of the most common drawbacks and concerns for most employers while dealing with remote workers is the absence of physical activities and social interactions. Talking to a colleague through calls or texts can not be substituted for physical conversations, where body language and gestures are very important. However, the absence of physical interactions shouldn’t be a clause that will deny employers, human resources managers, and other supervisors the duty of managing their teams.
The managers must implement constant and consistent monitoring to effectively manage your remote team. You must ensure that you know what is what per time, the stage of work, work progress, the state of health of staff, the nature of their working environment, etc. Sub teams can hold regular check-in sessions within 3 days intervals, a large team can work with a weekly call, and the company can work with a biweekly or monthly schedule. Team leaders must ensure undaunted communication and accountability checks on their team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page and at a similar pace.
Importantly when checking up on your staff, ensure that all you talk about isn’t just focused on work. Work is very important and is the main reason you are connected with them. However, a sneak peeks at their personal life and well-being is advisable. It brings about a sense of hope, acceptance, and connectedness in an organization.
Focus on the Result, not Work
In a traditional office environment, supervisors and team leads carry out time-to-time checks on the contribution and progress of tasks by workers in a unit, department, or company as a whole. Employers can make inquiries on the state of work, take on progress reports, assess the responsibilities and functions of each member of the team, etc. You can go from office to office to enforce your law and order and ensure that every hand is on deck. However, the story is different in the case of remote work. Employees are scattered abroad, and it will be so expensive and stressful to travel from one remote workspace to another in a bid to know who is working and what they are doing. If making calls and having virtual meetings every day is what you want to lean on, then you are working against the law of efficiency and productivity.
Instead of experiencing all these hassles in knowing about the progress and status of work every time, employers are encouraged to focus on the result. To do this, spell out all the A-Z of the task to the handler before the commencement of the job, trust your employee to deliver, engage them with motivating checkup calls or texts, answer all their questions, clear all their doubts, provide realistic and clear expectations regarding the feasibility, requirements, modalities, and deadline of the job, and be sure you provide them with whatever they need in delivering quality and excellent job. We are not saying you shouldn’t check on the progress of work, we are only advising that it should be carried out properly and at regular intervals without pressurizing and overwhelming the workers.
In a bid to increase the productivity of your workforce, it’s very important to create an effective and fair evaluation system for your workers. The evaluation must be carried out fairly with predefined criteria. Criteria such as the quality of work, time of delivery, team participation, response time, creativity, etc., are important in correctly grading your workers and will also help boost their morale to do more. Also, examine their understanding of what is going on in the company and their familiarity with the business and the company’s goals, missions, and vision. With this, you are ensuring that your workers are still aware of whom they are, what they are doing, why they are doing what they are doing, whom they are working for, etc.
You don’t have to set rigid deadlines in dealing with a remote team. It’s important to be strict and disciplined with your decisions, but you should remember that these employees work independently to a large extent. They might encounter technical, psychological, health, or financial constraints along the way, which might be difficult to sort out. In a unified place of work, employers can easily and quickly provide solutions to the problems faced by the employee or devise an alternative. However, the case is different for remote teams as they need to sort out their issues themselves. Thus, employers can be generous to their workers by providing them with flexible deadlines that will be able to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. In this case, deadlines can be set, and work can be carried out in milestones.
One of the most important ways of retaining employees both in traditional office spaces and in remote environments is to provide your workers with an enabling work environment that is very active. Even quiet and reserved staff don’t want to stay in places where the atmosphere is dull every time. Employers must always remember that their employees are one of their organization’s most important driving forces. Thus, they must be handled very well. Workers’ engagement is very paramount in remote teams. Your workers are already working independently, they need to be actively engaged in relaxation and fun activities. Allow your workers to feel connected to you and their work. Invite them to talk during meetings, organize relaxing contests and challenges, let them participate in peer reviews, engage them in work pairing, note all opinions, etc.
Excellent Recognition System
To successfully manage your remote team, an intentional effort must be channeled towards recognizing your workers’ contributions. Everyone wants to be recognized for the good deeds they’ve done. The energy and confidence humans bring to recognition, celebration, and appreciation greatly affect their overall performance. Appreciating your employees can go from a simple “thank you” compliment to the disbursement of massive compensations. In fact, every company must learn to imbibe the culture of saying “thank you” at the completion of a task. Employees must feel appreciated for the work they’ve done. Recognition must be done fairly and honestly. It should be given to the individual or team that deserves it. There should be a laydown style of appreciation, and it should also be subjected to the consent of the team or staff if they want the recognition to be made privately or publicly. Most times, however, public recognitions are the best unless stated otherwise. You can talk about the person’s contribution at the team meeting, you can present certificates and awards, or post the employee’s face on the company’s board or website header, etc.
Harness the Power of Technology
Remote team management has been established to be a very overwhelming exercise, especially when it’s carried out without the required tools and techniques. The improvement in technology has been a helpful strategy for solving the issues surrounding remote team management. In today’s world, hundreds and thousands of technological tools and platforms can be leveraged in managing teams. There are special tools that can be used individually by your employees, and there are generalized tools that provide employees with everything they need. Some platforms are best used for team and project management, e.g. Jira, Trello, etc. These platforms give employers the opportunity to design employees’ tasks and workflow, create roadmaps and backlogs, set and assign tasks and deadlines, communicate bugs/errors, etc. The platforms give employees the chance to know what they need to do and what the company is currently working on. These tools are important in monitoring the activities of your workforce. Furthermore, time management and tracking tools like Pomodoro and Google Calendar can be used to ensure employees’ productivity, concentration, and enhanced speed. Document sharing products such as Google Workspace, Notion, Confluence, etc., are important in creating, editing, and sharing documents of a particular task among the team. Also, video teleconferencing channels like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been integral in how remote employees hold meetings, make presentations, brainstorm ideas, etc. Lastly, the usage of messaging platforms such as Slack, Discord, and Teams has increasingly surged higher in the market. Many companies prefer these platforms because of the opportunity of the platform to create groups, initiate calls, assign tasks, integrate/incorporate them as APIs with other platforms, etc.
Have a Good Work Policy
The importance of a well-defined and effective work policy can not be overemphasized when dealing with your workforce. The established policies in a company bring about orderliness, structure, protection, expectations, and culture within the organization. Companies without a known culture and policy can not last. Policies help define who is who, establish extent and limitations, visualize expectations, describe the flow of people and activities, etc. Nevertheless, the policies used within a traditional workplace cannot be absolutely enforced in a remote environment. Thus, one of the first steps employers must take in properly managing their remote workforce is carefully and professionally redesigning the company’s conventional work policy into a remote copy. The new copy of the policy will be effective for the workers handling the company’s tasks remotely. The policy must have wide coverage of all the needs, protocols, responsibilities, modalities, requirements, order, and culture needed to work effectively in a remote environment. Employers must ensure that the policy is flexible enough to accommodate time-to-time updates. Furthermore, proper onboarding must be done for employees to know and learn about the guiding principles controlling their movement and activities within the company. Also, the workers must be reminded of the company’s policies from time to time to keep everyone in check.
Engage a Reliable International PEO
So far, we’ve captured a lot of important ways of managing your remote workforce, and most of our recommendations are majorly your responsibilities. Again, it has been established that managing a remote team is not child’s play. It is a continuous activity that must be carried out carefully and professionally. Any mismanagement or misclassification can heap heavy losses and penalties on your company. Improper management of your virtual team can lead to employee turnover, legal penalties, impeded growth, low customer retention and attraction, bad reputation, etc. However, all these issues can be lifted off your shoulder when you engage the services of an international professional employer organization. With a global PEO, you can focus on managing the day-to-day operations of your employees without hassle while other HR activities, such as compliance, tax and payroll management, talent sourcing, onboarding, compliant contraction termination, etc. WeHireGlobally is a trusted and reliable international PEO that provides you with everything you need to productively and profitably manage your remote team from anywhere in the world while staying compliant with the rules and regulations binding business operations in your location of business.
Why are Companies Embracing Remote Work?
The tremendous results that were provided through remote work during the pandemic have given this style of work its wide popularity. The most interesting fact about this working pattern is that it has come to stay. A virtual working system has brought about excellent employment perks, minimized time in the transportation and movement of people and information, increased productivity, and enhancement of a more comfortable working environment. Basically, remote work is very important to both the employer and the employees. In this section, we will be highlighting some of the reasons why remote work is beneficial to companies.
Benefits of Remote Work to Employers
Recruiting and Hiring Advantages
When operating in corporate office spaces, employers are limited in the kind of talents they can access and hire. Most times, location and proximity are important criteria in hiring an employee for an onsite role. Hiring managers do not want someone residing in a location that is very far from the company since it will be difficult for the employee to commute to and fro work, stay consistently productive at work after the commuting stress and even manage his/her finances. No matter how valuable the worker might be, there is a very low possibility for the employer to recruit him or her if the proximity of the worker’s residence from the company is far.
However, a remote work framework allows hiring managers to access a global pool of talent. Companies with remote plans will not be limited by location and proximity. They can go beyond the borders of their city or nation to bring valuable talents to their organization. The beauty of this is that global talents give you access to a wide range of creativity, innovation, skills, and qualifications. Moreso, employers can be certain of increased profitability and productivity in their company as there won’t be a need to stop the flow of work. For instance, your employees in the Philippines would have started working when those in the United Kingdom are asleep and vice versa. Also, remote work allows you to collaborate with human resources partners such as professional employer organizations in handling your talent management and compliance.
This is one of the most obvious results and advantages remote work provides an employer and his organization. With a remote working style, employees are not restricted by heavy rules and regulations. Everyone knows what to do per time and how to do it. The most interesting side of this is that employees tend to do their jobs quickly and correctly so that they can have time for other things. Workers tend to put in more energy and extra effort in completing their tasks. Some company executives attest to the fact their company’s productivity level saw a tremendous improvement as soon as the workers switched to working from their desired location. Employees begin to work in their most productive and comfortable state, which increases businesses’ productivity and profitability. For example, an employee who feels comfortable working in a business casual dress won’t be productive in an office where the complete corporate dress is the mode of dressing. However, if this employee is to work from any location of his choice with the kind of clothes he/she desires, then productivity will likely increase. Moreover, employers tend to enjoy the delegation, processing, completion, and implementation of more tasks within the shortest possible time. This is because some protocols and practices that delay the flow of work in a traditional office space are not in place in a remote environment.
Reduced Cost of Operations
The amount of money and resources spent on managing employees and the office environment in a conventional working space is very high. For instance, employers tend to hire a security team, maintenance team, cleaners, cooks and chefs, receptionists, etc., for the physical facility. Moreover, the company will need to pay for the restaurant resources, ensure health and safety in the environment, ensure the stability of power and the availability of backup/emergency power supply, employees’ buses, etc. All these heaps a lot of expenses on employers, especially when they deal with a large number of workers and customers and operate in a very large environment. The total amount of money involved in constructing, managing, and maintaining a physical building is enormous. Interestingly, a study showed that companies could save about twenty-two thousand dollars on one worker annually while working remotely. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have physical offices. In fact, every company needs a real location of work to be properly registered. What is being emphasized here is that remote work allows you to save the stress of building facilities for your remote employees since they can work from their desired location.
Attraction, Engagement, and Retention of Workers
In today’s world, most of the talents in the job market are in search of either a hybrid workplace or a fully remote workplace. Ever since the pandemic, most people have learned to work from their homes, co-working environments, personal offices, etc. A report showed that there had been a high surge in the search for remote jobs over the last three years than ever before. Thus, every employer that will benefit from the current pool of talents from any part of the globe must be willing to invest in remote work. Companies that adopt and effectively utilize the virtual working system tend to attract and retain many workers more than those that focus on onsite and hybrid workers. Furthermore, with a fully remote environment, employers have the opportunity to bring a sense of value, acceptance, and happiness to their staff. They can easily approach the employee and hear their opinions on how things can be better.
Benefits of Remote Work to Employees
Liberty and Flexibility
An average human wants to be free. This is why the quest for freedom is a common pattern throughout the history of humans and nations. As soon as the remote style of work became popular, people began to see the flexibility and liberty it brings to the way they operate their tasks and engage with the responsibilities committed to their hands. Most workers want to have control over when and how they carry out the tasks given to them. Remote work has been seen as the perfect ground on which employees can exercise their freedom. They can choose when they start a task, the cloth they put on, where they want to work, how they want to do the task, who can be of help and who can not, etc. All these will not be possible only if the company makes mandatory exceptions. Employees working remotely can develop themselves professionally, personally, and in other spheres of life while not lagging in their day-to-day operations. They can have an amazing time with their families and friends while ensuring they deliver all their tasks.
One of the most frequent conversations in corporate settings has been around the concept of work-life balance. Experts have advised companies on several ways through which they can adopt a balanced culture in their organizations and for their staff. However, several businesses have failed to culture a proper work-life balance among their workers. This instability and unequal structure are commonly evident among employees working in a conventional working environment.
The story has significantly proved to be different for employees working remotely. Due to the flexibility and freedom available in remote work, workers have been able to make a distinction between work and their personal lives perfectly. The most interesting thing here is that when workers are working in a traditional office, their acquaintances, friends, and family do not have the power to control the extent to which they work and give attention. However, in a remote workplace, when an employee is overworking himself/herself, the people around the worker will most probably help cultivate work-life balance in the employee’s life. Furthermore, remote work gives staff access to time for their personal life, family, other engagements, financial management, health care, professional development, parties, vacations, etc. Yes, employees can take as many vacations as they want while working remotely. However, the tasks assigned to them must not suffer while they are on vacation. The vacation location could be another remote environment to carry out the assigned task(s). In summary, remote work helps workers have an effective system and structure in their life such that there is proper housekeeping.
Better Health and Wellness
An ideal employee often works himself or herself out in a physically established office. The worker might be required to sit and watch the screen of a computer for hours, they might be required to walk up and down the office several times, they might be required to work for a minimum of 8 hours every business day, and many more. Most times, the workload and work schedules are so overwhelming that workers tend to neglect an important aspect of their lives, such as their health. An employee that will have to wake up early in the morning either to catch a bus or train at the station or even drive himself or herself to work, stay at work for probably 8 – 12 hours, comes back late at night between Monday and Friday will probably not have enough time to for medical and fitness checkups. This is even more difficult, especially when their employer company has a very bad culture and policy.
However, one of the most important things remote work has brought to our current world is the opportunity to work effectively and efficiently while staying healthy, fit, and happy. With remote work, employees have the chance to go for long walks at their will, register and increase their fitness level in gyms whenever they want, and visit physicians for medical checkups and treatments when needed. Usually, employees have enhanced energy in a remote environment since there is less pressure and stress on what they need to accomplish. However, employers should always remember that remote workers are also part of their staff; thus, they must be ready to monitor and enforce a proper health care management lifestyle in their remote workforce. This is because some workers might not see a need to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle even while they work remotely. Ultimately, employers must actively invest in the well-being of their employees.
Working with colleagues and employers in a traditional workspace might be a hassling task for introverts, timid, or shy employees. They usually find it difficult to relate and communicate effectively with people physically. They tend to develop low self-esteem and impostor syndrome in the long run. The problem becomes more challenging when they are challenged or pressurised by their employer or a colleague on a particular responsibility or deadline. Most times, workers in this category tend to burn out easily, develop low morale at work, seek ways to exit the work, experience regular breakdowns, depression, etc. Even if the pay is high, but the culture is not favoring, employees tend to look for better environments. Similarly, not shy or fearful workers can also lose their interest and morale in a particular job, especially when the environment is not conducive to their mental health and wellness.
However, a remote workplace helps in minimizing the physical interaction between employers and their staff. Workers can easily do what is required of them quickly and correctly when tools and working conditions are available to accomplish the job. The absence of face-to-face interaction has been noted to increase the confidence level of many young talents today. Some workers can effectively and properly communicate and relate with their employers on a virtual basis since no one sees the other. Thus, employees have the liberty to collaborate and communicate without pressure and fear.
Importance of Remote Work to the Global Economy
The significance of remote work has appeared to bring a lot of favorable concepts into the global marketplace. The surge in remote jobs is critical in demystifying how beneficial this style of work will affect the local, national, and global economy. This section will discuss some of the main reasons remote work is important in today’s market.
In a centralized corporate office, workers in that environment are mostly individuals from the same cultural background and heritage. Thus, it is highly possible that they think, work, act, innovate, and communicate similarly. They work within the context of limited scope and ideology. However, with remote work, companies have access to talents from any region of the world. For instance, a Tamil man can work in the marketing department of a US company. This helps the US company get ideas beyond the borders of their country, while the Tamil worker can use the money paid to him to improve the economy of his home country, India, through financial transactions. Also, the culture of a particular ethnic group or tribe can be made popular through remote work as people of different cultures working together can learn and publicize the uniqueness of their colleague’s cultural heritage. Furthermore, the difference in language is another great importance here. A company trying to expand to a new market will need the help of a translator or a local to communicate its product or service to potential customers properly.
Global Growth in new markets
Remote work creates opportunities for organizations to expand into new territories. US-based companies view every other part of the world as a market with potential customers. Despite high profitability in one location, expanding to multiple locations increases the knowledge about an organization and gives access to more revenue. Employing labour that works from a remote location you are looking to expand to makes it easier to get established in such a place. Remote workers in a choice location can help drive awareness and create a market for your products.
A tech company, for example, that aims to gain market share in the East Asian market only had to seek out marketing talents located in such regions and employ them without necessarily having them move down to the original site of the business. Such remote workers can be used to drive sales of the company products in the region as they are expected to have a greater understanding of the new market compared to an individual who has never lived there.
Innovation and Creativity
The traditional work model, which relies on an office setting, creates a form of a structured approach to problem-solving. Most times, staff are required to put heads together; this usually results in just a few individuals being involved in the process. With remote work, the staff has limited or scheduled access to other individuals within the organization. This creates the need for individuals to develop creative and innovative ideas continuously without relying on others to do the thinking for them.
With remote work, workers are able to come up with novel ideas that have the ability to attract a larger customer base. Workers are usually brought closer to home and, in turn, the actual users of products and services, which enables them to come up with more innovative ways of solving consumer problems. Organizations that are able to tap into the creative capacity of their workforce fully stand a greater chance of leading the global economy.
Productivity is an integral part of the success of any organization. In a structured setting with no flexibility regarding work time, burnouts are a common occurrence. Working remotely does not totally stop burnout but essentially reduces it, as workers are mostly in control of their time and how they work. The working hours are more flexible with remote work, and the frequency of breaks can be manipulated to suit an individual. The flexibility which remote work provides makes it possible for workers to be more alert when performing work-related tasks. This, in turn, boosts the performance and productivity levels of the workers.
A firm with a highly productive workforce will see an increase in its results. A productive workforce means higher chances of success for an organization.
Global expansion often entails a business having to expand its workforce or open new offices in international areas beyond the borders of its local operations. This is usually a bold step for any company and requires a lot of foresight and investment. There is, however, a means to cutting down on certain expenses through remote work. The expansion of a business beyond its domestic borders can be done without having to rent or buy physical spaces, thereby cutting down on such investment; rather, employees can be hired to work remotely from the new location. This makes entering a new territory easier without going through the rigorous procedures that come with setting up a physical office.
The importance of working remotely cannot be over-emphasized in global expansion. Companies will be able to hire the best talents in the required fields and easily open up the market for their products, especially when the new workers are individuals with a robust understanding of the potential consumers’ territory, tastes, and preferences.
Increased Competition for Talents
Gaining access to an otherwise unattainable skill and talent level has been made possible through the acceptance of work-from-home by major and smaller corporations. In fact, smaller companies are better positioned to hire the best talents while fostering the rapid growth of their business all over the globe with remote working. There is a greater competitive advantage for companies that embrace working remotely early on. It gives access to a talent pool that might otherwise have been ignored in a normal ‘9-5’ or fixed work location setting. The increased competition proves beneficial to both employers and employees, with employers being better positioned to recruit talents with diversity and unique skills that can foster growth and increase the productivity and profitability of their business.
Increased Sales of Remote Tools
For companies that specialize in the creation of remote technology, the continued campaign for remote or hybrid work patterns helps to drive the sales of such technology. It is no news that for companies to stay productive and successful while allowing their employees to work from home, there is a need to utilize various technologies such as video conferencing and virtual workspaces. Smartphones and laptops are quickly gaining ground as new workstations with new software are being launched daily. This is a guaranteed boost to the global economy and has untold advantages for various businesses and firms as well.
The ultimate goal for most companies and businesses is to spread their tentacles across different parts of the world. The only way to achieve this desire is when global expansion takes place. What does ‘global expansion’ mean?
Global expansion is an approach that is employed by businesses to expand operations abroad. In order to enjoy a significant upturn in business operations, a lot of businesses seek to take their products and services into international markets. Global expansion can also be referred to as ‘foreign expansion,’ ‘international expansion, or ‘overseas expansion. This approach gives businesses visibility and international recognition and widens consumer and customer bases. The reasons are numerous, the difficulties even more. When it comes to global expansion, different strategies are suitable for businesses according to the stage they are in. Here’s why it’s even more important to know the strategy to adopt as well as the advantages and disadvantages of going global.
Pros and Cons of Global Expansion
Establishing a business in unfamiliar territory is bound to be fraught with unique advantages and disadvantages, especially when dealing with foreign bodies, their demands, and requirements. However, when businesses cross familiar territories into unfamiliar ones, some benefits make such a venture worth it.
Benefits of Global Expansion
Trade agreements formed by different governments grant ease of access to businesses and organizations in a bid to foster globalization. Globalization is the crux of global expansion.
Expansion of access
A successful business in its home territory can only take the business further by expanding to new markets. Expanding one’s business globally provides access to foreign markets. This way, new customers can be reached faster, especially in regions with open borders. It also provides room for the diversification of assets.
Infusion of diversity into the workforce
A diverse workforce brings innovation and efficiency to the workforce. Having the right people in the right place is crucial to running a business. Not only does your business benefit from expanding globally, but your employees also do as well.
Given that a lot of Gen-Z and Millennials now prefer a more flexible work schedule and are opting for the remote work option, it will be wiser to hire remotely other than uproot employees to another location. This way, it minimizes costs and effectively improves your chances of penetrating the local market. Navigating the market with experienced individuals is sure also to enhance customer retention.
Doing business in other regions will require the expertise of locals in the area. Scaling barriers such as language and culture will be easier once talented individuals from such regions are integrated into the team. In addition, such a diverse remote team of skilled experts with experience makes the business better poised for growth.
Establishing businesses in multiple locations provides cover. Having a business in just one location exposes such to all the risks and negative events that may hit the market. These could stem from political and religious upheavals, economic downturns, and even environmental and geographical factors. Any of these could cripple a business forever. For example, the heat wave in the United Kingdom has significantly slowed productivity, leading to a massive loss in revenue, especially for small businesses, according to WeForum.
Expanding one’s business to multiple locations via remote working style causes these risks to bear down to a minimum. While an economic recession may affect one, there could be a boost in another location, thus providing support as well as balance, helping the business withstand such situations.
Establishing new and competitive sources of revenue
Taking your business overseas helps stretch it in new ways. This is because it will have to adjust to the target market’s needs, thus creating new and innovative sources of revenue. In a ripe market, sales will increase, which will, in turn, impact revenue. Creating and sustaining valuable solutions will provide an edge over the competition. Accessing the market first provides even more edge as it gives such businesses a head-start.
Running with government incentives
Running business operations in some nations with government incentives is another benefit of expanding globally. Some of these incentives include subsidies, tax allowances and reductions, free-trade zones, loans, and even grants. Countries in the European Union, for example, offer research and development tax credits to companies that conduct R&D in pharmaceuticals, tech, and food services. The African continent, which plays host to several countries with dynamic business environments, is not left out when it comes to adopting international standards to improve business-friendly environments, offering tax holidays and tax deductions to startups and other businesses.
Promoting global recognition
A business can get recognized on the global stage via different means. One of the best ways to do this is to expand globally. It is one thing to be known in the local market, it is another to join other businesses on the global stage and get recognized as an international business. Getting this prestige will attract customers, partners, and investors. The presence of remote workers at other locations will help you achieve your goals and promote your brand.
When expanding internationally, options are not limited, other than when expanding locally or nationally. This is because the cost of operations, including materials and required labor, is significantly lower in other countries. This is especially true of companies involved in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and customer service. This form of expansion also makes it possible to outsource some back-office roles, such as HR and finance, to third-party organizations like global PEOs with operations in your desired country. This helps to cut some costs in business operations.
Cons of Global Expansion
Trudging new waters is not without its challenges. Here are some downsides to expanding globally:
Walking into unknown territory without understanding its demands poses a lot of risks. Doing business in a new country will require having proper knowledge of its tax operations and labor and employment laws. This is quite important as it is easy to contravene these laws, especially when it comes to sourcing labor, putting a team together, organizing payroll, and paying remunerations. Some of these laws are backed by heavy penalties, a price for ignorance or oversight, which can be properly avoided if steps are taken in the right direction.
Cost of Expansion
To create business-friendly environments, countries often make requirements that business owners must abide by. Taking a business to another country does not exempt such a business from the staggering costs of such action. Time, money, and other resources are required to make things work. Business owners often require setting up a subsidiary as a legal entity. Apart from the costs of registration, the services of legal luminaries are also required to conduct such negotiations.
Inadequate understanding of international markets
Deciding to take your business abroad is a smart move. Getting steeped in international market knowledge is an even smarter move. Without this, such a business is on the brink of failure. This, however, may be a difficult venture since experience is better gained, especially if the market is new to the reception of such a product or service. Unsuccessful ventures of international expansion have been recorded over the years; for example, the famous Starbucks expansion into Israel lasted only for two years. Predicting the market’s reception can prove to be arduous. Banking on such predictions is an even greater risk.
Diversity is ubiquitous, and this can pose a serious challenge for businesses. Each country bears its peculiarities which have to be adjusted to. Ignoring this is running the risk of alienating potential customers. Cultural as well as religious rules and boundaries have to be respected. For example, in the Middle East, companies in the food and hospitality industry are expected to comply with Halal standards. In addition to studying the standards, other factors such as language and social customs have to be taken into consideration to ensure a smooth entry into the market.
Strategies for Global Expansion
Startups, small businesses, and large corporations seek to play on the global stage for different reasons. These may range from the need to increase sales and profit margins to brand awareness and diversification through innovation and technology. The significant factor lies in which strategy is adopted. This is because the means used to penetrate the international market will depend not only on the need to do so but the size of the business. Adopting the right strategy is crucial to avoiding an unfavorable approach.
However, some factors should be considered before picking the right strategy for your business. Some of these are:
It may be cliché to say “nothing should be done without research”, however, it is necessary to emphasize this. Planning and preparation should commence with a market survey. More than this, competition needs to be evaluated, and in the case of a new market, the possibility of infiltrating the market newly also needs to be considered. Here, a market research firm may prove the most valuable.
Rules, laws, and regulations
Each territory is governed by peculiar laws and regulations, none of which can be overlooked. Studying your preferred location’s laws and regulations thoroughly is important. This will aid in understanding the limitations and demands of such regulations. Compliance with tax regulations, employment laws, trade laws, investment laws, and so on is important. Overlooking compliance often bears grave consequences, but this can be avoided if a third-party organization is brought to the fore in this kind of research. Consulting with global PEOs such as WeHireGlobally helps to eliminate the risk of compliance.
The political and economic climate
When selecting a geographical location for expansion, its political and economic stability should be taken into consideration. Factors such as employment rate, GDP, and political and economic history must be considered.
Language and culture
Cultural barriers also bear demands, including language. Your marketing and branding strategies will have to be tailored to suit the demands of the country’s culture. Knowing what is appropriate and what is, from religious values to norms, office culture, and holidays is important.
After considering the above points, a suitable strategy can be selected. Here are some strategies you can consider while expanding globally:
Establishing a Subsidiary from Scratch
This strategy is the traditional method of expansion. It begins with incorporating a business, acquiring office space, hiring a country head to oversee operations, and then building a team to manage operations. This structure requires intentionality about the path to be taken and research as well. The advantages of this method include total control of the business, especially compliance, heightened brand awareness, and formulation of key relationships within the market. On the other hand, it could also be labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive. Hiring efficient individuals in a foreign location could also require a lot of effort, while working with remote teams may be risky, depending on your approach.
Sending goods and services across borders is another way to penetrate international markets. A simple and common way to expand globally, this method is adopted by several organizations because it is a quick way to satisfy customers without going through so many rigorous processes. This method is of advantage because a subsidiary is often not required. It works by means of partnership and contractual agreements with distributors, marketing agencies, retailers, and sometimes, all three. The lens is often on marketing to ensure that the product or service makes the necessary impact once it hits the market. Inasmuch as the cost of erecting a subsidiary is eliminated, other costs go into logistics, and products are prone to the risk of environmental factors.
Finding organizations with mutual interests and forging alliances with them is also another path to international expansion. The local partner often has the knowledge of the market, the experience, and the resources to navigate with a partner. Of course, this alliance has to be valuable to both parties. ‘Value’ here is to be of financial and holistic relevance. While larger businesses may undertake this venture, it is also relevant to small businesses that do not have sufficient capital to set themselves up in a foreign country. However, this type of entry into foreign shores thrives on a corporate agreement that may require compromise and relinquishing some level of control. Other than this, it is a good avenue to bridge and merge cultures and provide more fronts for globalization.
Merging and acquiring
Legalizing the union of two or more corporations into a single entity is another avenue to international expansion. Mergers and acquisitions are easily carried out across borders, thanks to technology. Taking over an established organization or merging with one provides you access to its facilities, such as distribution channels and supply chains. Though it is an expensive venture, it depends largely on rates of interest and its resultant effect on currencies. Mergers and acquisitions like establishing a subsidiary require understanding such a country’s regulations. This is important because certain countries place restrictions on what can be acquired and to what extent to protect their economy.
Licensing and franchising
Licensing and franchising permit business owners to share aspects of their brand for a fee. While licensing applies to trademarks that have been registered, franchising permits brand owners to share a portion of their business operations. This could be products, services, and even intellectual property. Both are based on contractual agreements, and they could be exclusive and non-exclusive. Franchising permits smaller businesses to operate under a larger business model. This is particular to food chain suppliers and superstores. This form of agreement permits businesses to cross borders, howbeit with its complexities. These stem from the stringent tax and legal policies surrounding intellectual property. It is, nonetheless, a quick way to access the international market.
Utilizing service providers
The importance of third-party organizations such as Global PEOs cannot be overemphasized. This is a result of the roles they play important roles in international expansion as the process is attached to a lot of nuances that can be overlooked or ignored. All of the strategies mentioned above pair perfectly with these organizations and enhance operations. International PEOs not only conduct useful research to aid the expansion process, but their well-crafted team of handpicked experts also provides a support system to aid seamless payroll and talent acquisition. These organizations help businesses keep up to the standards and regulations of the target geographical location. The risk of compliance is also reduced to zilch when such HR outsourcing firms are brought on board.
Global Expansion and the Remote Team
When it comes to expanding a business, it is important to have all hands on deck. This is because, thanks to technology, remote work helps businesses run without hitches. Ensuring team synergy is key to making international expansion work, especially when a new team is to be hired and merged with existing ones. The following may pose challenges if this is not taken into cognizance:
Having a remote team with members planted around different geographical locations and helping them work in sync poses more challenges than the alternate scenario, having them in the same building. Time zones can raise a barrier and slow down decision-making and workflow.
This can, however, be managed with the use of technology. Various apps and software are now available to help coordinate workflows, though with more effort and intentionality from team leads and managers. Communication lines have to be actively kept open to ensure the free flow of communication. Also, information should be passed in clear terms to avoid communication gaps.
This has to do with both the individual and the company. Company culture has to be receptive to diversity. This implies that each culture needs to be accommodated in order to avoid sidelining some groups. There should be room for members to get educated about one another’s culture. This will help foster tolerance and help members be more tolerant in order to avoid issues. On the other hand, team members should be groomed about company culture and its formal practices, regardless of their cultural background.
When it comes to remote teams, companies should be well aware of the employment rules that take precedence over each location. These laws often cover work hours, insurance, vacations, holidays, and other incentives. Keeping track of these will help in knowing what applies to each country. Legal action may be taken against the company if this is not done. A deal with an international PEO is another way to lift this hassle.
Strategies for Global Team Expansion
Expanding with an existing team is a demanding venture, not only for the company but also for members of its workforce. Trying to manage an existing team while entering a new market may pose fresh challenges. Here are some ways to navigate this without hitches:
Get the team involved
It is important to set clear goals for expansion, but most importantly, let the team understand these goals. Whether the goals are long-term or short-term, help the team be clear on the reason for these goals. Stating your reasons will help them be actively involved in the growth process. This is because their role is crucial to the goal of expansion. Furthermore, adopting and integrating remote work is another important step toward getting your team involved.
Be receptive to cultural differences
While preparing to bring new members on board, keeping an open mind is important. This is crucial because different regions bear different demands for employers. These demands are often dissimilar to the acclimated norm and will influence the way business is regularly done. Some of these range from employment regulations to the standards for compensation. Carrying out proper research aids the preparation process. It will also help to work the gleaned details into the plan to prepare against challenges. Bearing a receptive mind to the changes that will take place will aid preparation.
Prepare your tools for cohesion
Managing employees globally will require a different approach to the norm. To keep the team fused as one, it will be best to keep them under the same digital platforms. Doing this will help information dissemination and make it easier for the teams to connect and integrate, especially if the team is a hybrid. It is also important to keep up with their day-to-day tasks. This can be easily monitored with software tools as they will help to keep track of the growth and productivity of the team. An HR team will most effectively manage remote employees, and this role could easily be outsourced to Global PEOs.