Over the past two years, technology has evolved enormously to accommodate our ‘new normal’ of hybrid working, allowing employees from all over the world to collaborate across borders.
Our approach to work has taken on an entirely new form that’s also changed businesses’ outlooks on global expansion. But of course, it hasn’t come without various new considerations to take into account…
A permanent, positive shift
Whilst remote working was initially a way to limit the spread of COVID-19, its additional benefits have been numerous. For employees, remote working has been proven to boost productivity, keep motivation levels high and reduce staff turnover rates.
However, one of the primary benefits of a remote working model is the opportunity it presents for global expansion. The pandemic has shown us that businesses can work without borders by taking advantage of technology. Online working provides access to top global talent at varying salary ranges, meaning companies are no longer restricted to where they can hire. Instead, all the energy can be focused on who to hire — no matter where they are in the world.
Plus, as businesses no longer need physical office locations everywhere they’re looking to operate, it becomes more feasible for smaller organisations to expand overseas — even to test the waters before committing to a market long term.
Leveraging the online world
Technology has facilitated the shift to a more flexible approach to working. Businesses can run their entire operations productively from a single cloud-based platform such as Microsoft Teams, where employees can access shared documents, set up a video call in seconds and communicate instantly between countries.
Other teleconferencing channels like Zoom have also taken off, encountering hundreds of millions of users every day. Zoom has become synonymous with remote work, and the platform has evolved to meet the growing needs of a remote global workforce. In fact, Zoom recently launched its AI-powered virtual receptionist feature, as well as new shareable virtual whiteboards that make it easier for meeting participants to collaborate in real-time.
Ultra-fast broadband speeds also support the new mass of people working from home — as does a new generation of powerful computers, more robust VPN software and enhanced (and less expensive) IP telephony. The rollout of 5G has also allowed for staggering download speeds and given those in more rural areas access to high-speed internet connectivity.
Without the development of these digital resources, many businesses worldwide wouldn’t have been able to stay operational throughout the pandemic.
New considerations for international expansion
Perhaps the most salient indicator of the permanency of remote working is the new laws and regulations countries have implemented worldwide: many of which impose obligations on employers to support their remote workers.
Despite all the positives of our new way of working, there has been an impact on working hours as some employees find it hard to separate work and leisure. To combat this, some countries such as Portugal have introduced a ‘right to disconnect’ law that means workers must not receive or be expected to pick up emails, calls or messages outside of their contracted working hours.
And many countries seem to have followed several common threads when implementing new remote working legislation. For example, employers are generally mandated to provide staff with the tools, equipment and support they need to work off-site. This includes reimbursing any expenses related to remote work, ensuring each employee has the necessary tech to work and, in some locations, providing tax-free allowances for any work-from-home requirements. In fact, the latter has been introduced in Belgium as a permanent measure with no end date.
Some countries now also require employers to offer comprehensive risk assessments, medical examinations or relevant training to safeguard the mental and physical wellbeing of those working remotely. And in countries like Argentina, Slovakia, Chile and Ukraine, new laws state that remote workers should be allowed to work a more flexible schedule whilst enjoying the same rights and benefits as any on-site employees.
Plus, across the world, employers must now provide a written contract that covers the details of each employee’s new working circumstances, including their contracted place of work — whether that be at home or in the office.
Your partner for international expansion
A hybrid working model is pivotal to all organisations looking to expand into global markets. International expansion requires expertise on the ground to gain footholds in different locations worldwide, and you’ll need to implement the proper technology to onboard overseas employees seamlessly.
Pandemic or no pandemic, taking the step towards global expansion can be daunting. From navigating ever-changing remote working laws around the world to ensuring you take the proper steps when hiring someone overseas, it can all feel like a bit of a minefield.
So, why not enlist the assistance of an employer of record (EOR) such as TopSource Worldwide? Utilising the expertise of a global EOR removes the hassle of employing internationally so that you can take advantage of the new digital era and build the global business you always dreamed of.
Our global team of in-country experts works with you to keep your business on the right side of compliance when employing a global workforce — meaning you can focus on growing your business whilst we tackle the nuances and details associated with global expansion.
Alongside our EOR services, we offer a cutting-edge cloud-based platform that consolidates your business’ operations all in one place. From this platform, you can manage everything employee-related from payroll to paid leave — saving time and money whilst staying compliant.
Thinking about expanding your business overseas? Our in-country expertise, wealth of experience and advanced technology means your global expansion can be seamless and enjoyable. Contact us to learn more about our global employer of record services.