Remote work is here to stay. As demand for digital nomadism rises — and with international hiring among 2023’s big market trends — employment experts reveal the dos and don’ts of managing a successful global team.
Global employment is growing exponentially on the back of remote work. The business benefits of a worldwide team are endless, but “Leaders cannot take for granted on a distributed team what they do in an office,” warns Job van der Voort, CEO of international hiring and EOR service Remote.
Signs remote teams are going global:
- A global benefits study by Remote shows that 54% of business leaders expect their teams to become more geographically distributed over the next five years.
- 22% of the American workforce will be remote by 2025, with 30% of the UK workforce already working remotely. A further 42% of UK employees would like to work from abroad, with millennials driving demand for work wanderlust.
- Three-quarters of workers would only consider new roles if they offered ‘work from anywhere’ policies.
Remote, the global employment expert, reveals the do’s and don’ts of managing global teams as the movement grows, helping businesses get the transition right.
Do adopt an asynchronous work model
- Two-fifths of employees believe an asynchronous model is the future of work.
- 21% of European business leaders say they would not rule out moving towards more employee-centric scheduling strategies.
Team members are not required to work on the same schedule when working asynchronously. “Asynchronous working principles allow global teams to thrive, especially when these teams have several different time zones to consider,” says Job van der Voort. “Leaders of remote workforces should think critically about whether it is truly important to be online at the same time for most projects, and in the cases when working together is better, how to use that time in the most effective way. ”
Don’t fall into the ‘proximity bias’ trap
- 42% of supervisors forget remote workers when assigning tasks.
- Nearly three-fourths of companies are enforcing measures to prevent remote workers from being disadvantaged by organizational processes.
“Proximity bias is a form of favoritism, occurring when those in leadership positions favor team members they interact with in person,” says Job van der Voort. “Proximity bias harms organizations by limiting the growth of talented people who do not work in offices while creating a negative culture.”
Job continues: “Eliminating proximity bias is about nurturing a strong and supportive remote work culture that’s inclusive to all, however they choose to work. Such a culture is built from the top down, giving all team members the confidence and flexibility to work wherever they are most productive without sacrificing career progression and growth.”
Do use simple and accessible collaboration software
- Collaborative work makes up 85% of people’s work weeks. By 2024, in-person meetings will only amount to 25% of team conversations.
- 83% of team members say they rely on digital technology for team collaboration, with 59% facing challenges using their organizations’ tools. Another study claims 91% of employees are frustrated by the tools they’re given for collaboration work.
“The tools your organization uses must be intuitive, simple, and most importantly accessible,” says Job van der Voort. “Usability of tools is incredibly important. A powerful collaboration tool only a handful of people feel comfortable adopting will inevitably become a source of frustration throughout the team, only serving to hold your remote processes back.”
Continuing to talk about simple and accessible collaboration tools, Job says, “The tools you use should go hand-in-hand with your business’s commitment to asynchronous work, meaning instant access to information is pivotal. You need reliable, usable solutions for communications, instant video recordings, scheduling, and especially documentation.”
“Having these tools working in harmony makes it easy for everyone to work together regardless of working hours or locations. That is what we mean by async work: people have the tools they need to do great work and not wait for others to be online.”
Don’t forget about compliance
- The upsurge in digital nomadism now means there are 46 countries around the world offering digital nomad visas to foreign professionals — these legal documents allow people to travel and temporarily live and work in specific countries.
- The Global Employer of Record market size is forecast to grow to over $6.7 billion by 2028, helping SMEs and other businesses to permanently and legally employ talent abroad.
“Companies are moving from simply offering remote work to embracing distributed teams,” says Job van der Voort. “This means companies can hire great people all over the world, but it also means they need to be mindful of issues of compliance.”
Job adds, “Many companies still believe you need to open an entity in a new country to hire there. Thanks to employer of record services, this is not the case. You can get set up to hire people in other countries in days instead of months, and you don’t have to bear the burden of compliance risks when you use an EOR.”
Do establish a core benefits package for remote workers
- Remote’s global benefits report reveals that 78% of company decision-makers have seen greater employee retention after adding or improving their benefits packages.
- The same report indicates that 60% of employees would choose between jobs based on the benefit packages they offered.
“Our data shows there are four primary benefits in most parts of the world,” says Job van der Voort. “These core benefits are health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and a pension or retirement fund. Depending on where your team is located, governments either provide these benefits as part of the social safety net or require employers to provide them.”
“Any statutory benefits not provided by the government are usually the responsibility of the employer. And all employer-provided benefits programs must comply with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions where their employees work.”
Job adds, “When dealing with a global team, a one-size-fits-all approach to packaging benefits won’t work. The leaders’ role is to appropriately tailor statutory benefits with lifestyle benefits that are truly useful to team members in each location. Otherwise, you risk your benefits package becoming a boon for one employee and a burden for another.”
Don’t overlook the importance of cybersecurity
- 34% of organizations identify improving cybersecurity as the biggest challenge for hybrid work models, making it the number one priority moving forward.
- A remote work setup can raise the risk of cyber threats if your remote team isn’t sufficiently trained and protected.
“Legacy office-based security processes aren’t robust enough to handle remote work,” says Job. “I suggest leaders implement a zero-trust security framework. A zero-trust framework embraces the accessibility of a flexible work culture, protecting people, devices, apps, and data stored in the cloud.”
Job also talks about the importance of implementing a crisis response plan, saying “While your primary responsibility is to prevent breaches, you must also create a response plan to guide you in case of disaster. Training is essential here. You must include all areas of the organization including your staff, partners, contractors, and even local authorities, depending on the laws in the locations where you hire.”