Excerpted from a Forbes Article by Tim Dowd
Over the past few years, the concept of the workplace—and the way we work—has rapidly transformed. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies found it necessary to accelerate the digitalization of their operations to run effectively, both within their organizations and in engaging with customers.
Technology has enabled collaboration across borders and time zones, and workers and companies alike are embracing remote work like never before. In fact, according to Gartner, by the end of 2022, 31% of all workers worldwide will be fully remote or hybrid. The U.S. is leading the way, with remote employees accounting for 53% of the U.S. workforce.
The complexity of business in today’s highly interconnected world has undoubtedly introduced a new set of challenges for leaders, but these opportunities are worth the effort. If organizations can succeed in embracing this new era of work, they can unleash the disruptive power of diversity, resulting in greater productivity, innovation and growth. So, what should leaders consider when preparing their remote workforce for globalization?
Integrate Risk Management Into Your Recruitment Strategy
No longer constrained by traditional geographic barriers, employers can now build teams that offer the best functional expertise from around the world combined with deep knowledge of the most promising markets. In tapping into the benefits of international diversity, leaders are discovering that they can bring together professionals with distinctive backgrounds and perspectives.
According to a study conducted by HR Research Institute (HRRI) and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), more companies are embracing this shift, with 33% of HR professionals saying “they expect to hire more candidates that live or have lived in countries outside the organization’s location in the next five years.”
However, to truly reap the rewards of going global, leaders must first manage risk. There’s increasing complexity involved with hiring employees in international locations. The same study found that regardless of location, 72% of HR professionals believe that it’s important for companies to have access to global or international screening capabilities. Companies must successfully navigate a complex and ever-changing labyrinth of legislation and are exposed to candidate fraud and security risks.
Therefore, leaders must be thoroughly committed to vetting candidates through reliable background checks.
Adopt Communication Tactics That Keep Workers Connected
The distributed workplace ecosystem is evolving from “work from anywhere” to “work from anywhere and at any time.” As such, remote work requires a higher level of consistency and discipline around communication and, more importantly, the adoption of time zone equality.
What’s more, the expectations of leadership will vary across cultures, but one thing is for certain: Workers want flexibility, freedom and balance. Leaders must move from “command and control” toward a leadership style that empowers autonomy. One way to do so is through embracing asynchronous communication, allowing employees to work when and where they choose. This type of autonomy is an indispensable component of workplace motivation and a key driver of job performance and well-being.
In shifting to this model, however, companies must be aware of how shrinking networks may endanger innovation. As a Work Trend Index report by Microsoft eloquently puts it: “Remote work makes for more siloed teams. Leaders must look for ways to foster the social capital, cross-team collaboration, and spontaneous idea-sharing that’s been driving workplace innovation for decades.”
Invest In Technology That Aids Collaboration
As the dust of the initial frenzy of remote work settles, organizations must reassess their technologies to ensure they are optimized to drive productivity and collaboration among dispersed teams. In the absence of a physical office, companies should embrace solutions that allow workers to move freely between spaces and facilitate engagement that mimics in-person contact.
In a traditional office environment, employees regularly engage in informal, unplanned interactions such as walking over to a coworker’s desk to ask a question. Such communication benefits workers both socially and professionally, yet it is among the most difficult aspects to replicate virtually. Leaders must fill the gaps by prioritizing virtual happy hours or one-on-one chats and embracing a positive company culture that spans geographic divisions.
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The future of work is global—remote leaders should embrace this shift, not fear it
Excerpted from a Forbes Article by Tim Dowd