Breaking Borders: Unleashing the Power of Remote Work for Global Business Expansion and Job Opportunities

Photo by Hannah Wei

Written by Jared Brown, CEO of Hubstaff , this thought-provoking article explores how remote work is breaking down borders and creating new opportunities for global business expansion and job growth. The way we work has changed more in the past three years than in the previous three decades, the author explains. With talent now competing on a global stage, companies can tap into a worldwide pool of skills and experience at favorable costs.

The way most people can work has changed more significantly in the past three years than in the three decades before. You and everyone you know now compete with your skills, knowledge, and expertise for jobs on a global stage. This shift opens up more opportunities than ever before, as well as more competition.

For companies, adapting to a global talent pool makes it easier to get the talent you need in locations and at pay rates that best suit your business. Shifting the way you think and hire to include more contractors, freelancers, and global workers unlocks a new realm of possibilities.

The importance of cultural competence

Sometimes, the most obvious barriers to success are still the most difficult to solve. In the world of remote work, that core concern is the cultural and regional differences we experience. To succeed, companies will want to train managers and leaders on how to support, motivate, and monitor a global workforce.

Think about your last team meeting or sales call. Did you use a sports metaphor or common saying to express a meaning or motivate a team? That might not come across or, it may have an unintended effect on your team.

In a world where “football” can mean very different things depending on where you are, leaders need to understand the culture of their audience. It’s one reason why Ted Lasso’s humor works so well, while also being a good demonstration that many readers here may never have heard of that particular show.

Reducing expenses to raise profitability

After you’ve got some training on understanding and adapting to the differences of global team members, it’s time to think about the value they can bring to your organization.

Adopting remote work policies that include supporting international contractors makes it easier for you to hire more people at better rates while getting the specific skills you need. You’ve got a larger talent pool available and options to improve operational support.

For example, hiring globally makes it easier to have customer service teams available in the times and languages your customers require. Instead of having to hire people who are fluent in a second language, you can hire someone who is local to where your customers are.

That’ll improve the language and time fit for your customers while likely reducing the expertise you need to cover in salary or hourly wages. Combine this with the other savings that remote offers — such as reduced property and equipment costs — and remote might also mean a solid increase to your profitability.

Offering top talent what they want most

Remote and hybrid work are two benefits that have extremely high adoption rates. In a McKinsey study, 87% of people offered a chance to work remotely took it. More education, higher salaries, and a more technical nature of work all correlate with increased adoption of remote work.

If your existing team members or potential new hires value autonomy, they’re more likely to want the adoption to work flexibly. That doesn’t always mean fully remote, but it does mean that some will self-select out of your talent pool if you don’t support any remote or hybrid options.

Flexible work is also part of people’s long-term career planning. McKinsey’s review notes that workers place flexible hours or locations behind only pay and growth opportunities as reasons for looking for a new job. It’s higher than any other benefit as well as being more desirable than improvements in team culture, schedule predictability, or social aspects like company values and company sustainability.

A smarter take on productivity

You only truly unleash the power of remote work when these team members become long-term employees. Remote can improve retention and reduce both turnover and disengagement.

However, there is a threat to these benefits: relying on a misunderstanding of productivity.

In the remote world, productivity isn’t just showing up for a certain number of hours a day or ensuring that you hit a few keys or move your mouse. Valid productivity is a measure of someone successfully completing their tasks and projects. Output needs to come with validation, whether that’s efficiency or a higher-order metric such as new business won.

Remote work tools, even like Hubstaff, can give you the starting point for understanding productivity metrics and uses. Scores or activity percentages should be used to primarily address warning signs, while the value that managers place on someone’s work is then driven by outcomes.

Ask yourself what the business objective of a role is. Then, create performance measurement options that speak to the objective and how you expect a person to contribute. The tools that measure your metrics should be used to support team members and help look for signs of burnout or disengagement. That way, leaders can step in and provide support to get someone back on track.

Treating productivity as a success metric and not a butts-in-seats metric helps team members feel engaged and invited into company decisions. It creates trust, which in turn improves overall efficiency and productivity.

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