The COVID-19 pandemic has created a disruption in the workplace, opening the door for innovation. In India, IT and technology companies are leading the work from home movement and planning to adopt a hybrid workplace model as a solution in the future.
On the international front, multinational technology companies are taking it one step further with work-from-anywhere and many are following suit. This concept, along with shared offices and technology solutions, enables companies to hire talent from anywhere in the world without concern for establishing a resource-draining subsidiary in a foreign jurisdiction.
Across various countries in Asia, it is common for young people to migrate from the countryside to major cities in search of work. As long as there is sufficient internet bandwidth, the option to work from their hometown encourages employees to choose employment with such companies. This work-from-anywhere model allows employees to spend time with family and simultaneously work for their dream company.
There are many benefits of a work-from-anywhere or hybrid workplace model, but it will depend on HR teams determining the right resources and implementing the proper technology to see it thrive.
Considerations When Expanding Internationally
HR departments largely share the same responsibilities across industries, such as hiring, benefits and compensation, legal compliance, employee engagement, employee relations, performance management and so on.
As employees have transitioned to working remotely, geographic boundaries have been broken down. So too has the need to hire new employees from within those boundaries, allowing companies to hire from a larger talent pool.
As this practice increases and work-from-anywhere continues to gain popularity, HR teams will be tasked with developing policies and best practices that account for different states and countries. Without the right tools and guidance, this can quickly become an overwhelming task.
Business practices and social customs vary from country to country. What’s legal in one country could land a company in hot water in another. Compliance can be further complicated by city, regional and national regulators and government agencies imposing filing requirements.
Employment contracts must reflect a knowledge of the local laws. Also, social taxes and benefit entitlements differ significantly from country to country. Even opening a bank account in a foreign country has varied requirements, which have a bearing on the payroll process. These are just a few of the questions HR leaders must address before considering a work-from-anywhere model.
Supporting Global Workforce
New technology has made managing a remote workforce, even a global workforce, easier. Despite travel restrictions in India, Germany, France and many other countries, companies are able to hire and onboard internationally.
Cloud-based systems have been in use for years. But the pandemic has undoubtedly been a wake-up call for HR teams not already utilizing such systems to make the switch, especially for a Human Capital Management (HCM) system. Automated HCM systems can manage remote and dispersed workforces, which truly are the future of the workplace.
In fact, automating many HR tasks will help eliminate errors and avoid missteps that usually cost companies time and money. Automation offers verification of timesheets and consolidates data entry, further reducing errors when entering data into multiple systems.
Further, cloud-based technologies offering GDPR compliance features can protect companies from time-consuming, costly risks of non-compliance with foreign laws and regulations and human error due to manual processing.
However, technology is not a miracle solution. As companies expand to new countries, it is critical to seek the advice of global business experts. There are partners and technologies available for companies of all sizes, locations and industries.
Many HR professionals have had to manage their company’s international expansion and have been successful. Within a strong community like HR, it’s possible to leverage one another to help solve problems.The best advice I can offer is to take the time to evaluate your objectives and strategize accordingly.
In these fast-changing and often uncertain times, HR teams who stay in front of these new workforce trends by leveraging available resources, taking advantage of current technology and understanding global expansion challenges will successfully navigate this work-from-anywhere landscape.