The pandemic-induced lockdown and social distancing spurred speedy shifts to virtual and remote working across the globe, and Asia Pacific was no exception. What was once a necessity soon proved to be beneficial both for businesses and employees, ushering in new levels of flexibility, teaming, and adaptability, promoting many organisations to permanently adopt remote working models.
The growth of international hiring and the adoption of distributed working models have been two of the most notable trends in the new world of work. Organisations can utilise this moment to rethink and restructure their workforces to meet ongoing and changing business needs as they begin to consider the new realities of the post-pandemic environment. Indian companies looking to globalise their businesses while reducing workforce costs are embracing distributed working models.
A remote world
In the past three years, organisations in the Asia-Pacific region have advanced from temporary work-from-home arrangements to embracing permanently distributed teams spread across numerous locations. This strategy aims to broaden their pool of talent, boost productivity and cultural diversity, and take their businesses global. According to a report by the IDC InfoBrief, “Bridging the Talent Gap: The Future of Hiring in the Asia/Pacific Region, Indian companies are leading the pack in hiring remote international workers as they transition to the future of work. Around 50% of India's small and mid-market businesses intend to onboard 40-60% of full-time equivalents (FTEs) or contractors within the upcoming year. Compare this to companies in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, who are planning to hire only 20%-30% remote FTEs or contractors. Hiring globally is helping Indian companies build a thriving and engaged workforce.
Going beyond borders
In today's world, companies can find skilled people from around the world. This helps them avoid crowded job markets and access experienced professionals. By having a global team, businesses can use flexible work styles to communicate better and handle different time zones effectively.
Embracing distributed teams allows companies to tap into a global talent pool rather than being limited to hiring employees in a specific geographic area. This opens opportunities to access highly skilled professionals from different regions, enhancing diversity and expertise within the organisation.
Business continuity is a crucial aspect of any organisation's operations, and distributed teams can play a significant role in ensuring continuity during unexpected events such as natural disasters, political instability, or health crises. By decentralising operations, companies can mitigate risks associated with localised disruptions and maintain essential business functions. Distributed teams often promote cross-training and knowledge sharing among team members. The sharing of expertise and skills ensures that critical functions can continue even if specific team members are unavailable.
Flexibility is key
For remote and hybrid workers, in particular, flexibility is the key. According to Remote’s Global Benefits Report 2022, the majority of remote employees (57%) ranked flexibility as even more important than their compensation. While employees should never have to sacrifice fair compensation for flexibility, these findings drive home just how important the benefit of flexibility is for workers who could do their jobs from anywhere. Decision-makers at many companies are responding to this global desire for flexible work by using it to improve retention, gain access to new markets, and respond to their employee’s requests and needs.
By embracing distributed teams, companies gain access to diverse perspectives, cultural insights, and market knowledge from different regions. This can be particularly valuable for organisations operating across multiple countries in the Asia-Pacific region, allowing them to better understand local customs, consumer preferences, and business practices.
Overall, the shift from temporary work-from-home arrangements to permanently distributed teams reflects the increasing recognition of the benefits and possibilities offered by remote work and global collaboration. The evolving technological landscape, changing workforce preferences, and the need for business agility have all contributed to this trend in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.