International remote working: global mobility’s leading edge?

International remote working is a growth area. As organisations adapt and work out what it means for them, Crown World Mobility’s latest report looks at the impact on global mobility.

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International remote working is a growth area. As organisations adapt and work out what it means for them, Crown World Mobility’s latest report looks at the impact on global mobility. Earlier this year, professional services firm, KPMG, published its new studyCurrent Trends in Remote Working. Based on the views of over 500 companies in 46 jurisdictions, the report found that almost 90% of employers have, or are considering adopting, a remote working policy.
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Talent is the biggest driver for the introduction. Offering remote working to bolster employer branding or responding to employee requests together account for almost half of changes.  This appetite is reflected in newly advertised HR job titles. Launching its 2022 Remote Influencer Report, Remote, an international recruitment and relocation HR platform for remote-first employers, finds a 237% rise in the number of HR positions specifically responsible for remote or distributed teams. “This year’s Remote Influencer Report shows how the impact of remote and flexible working has dramatically changed over the last year,” says Remote’s VP of People, Nadia Vatalidis. “Despite this, some companies and individuals are still navigating the transition.” 
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Bringing mobility skills and knowledge to the evolving world of international remote work 

While the appearance of remote in HR job titles is a relatively new phenomenon – long anticipated but hastened by the pandemic and demographic trends – global mobility teams have decades of experience in managing remote operations and supporting people across time zones and borders. In particular, managing employees' locations, which is critical to remaining compliant from a tax and immigration perspective and covered in a recent Santa Fe webinar.  Highlighting the importance of getting remote working right, a recent survey by global mobility, remote and distributed workforce platform, Topia, found that in 2021, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located. That number fell to 46% in 2022. Such specialist knowledge can help companies grappling with practical questions around what roles can be undertaken fully remotely or hybrid, including cross-border commuting. It also raises interesting questions around how remote working intersects with international short-, medium- and long-term assignments.  

International remote working and global mobility

The rise of the international remote and hybrid workforce is providing opportunities for multinational companies, as well as start-ups. It shows that global mobility and international working in all its forms is still very much sought-after after two years of lockdown and the chance many employees have taken to reappraise how, where and for whom they work.  Crown World Mobility’s latest whitepaper, World Mobility Perspectives: Top three global mobility trends and innovations, offers a glimpse of the challenges and solutions here. It touches on the trend for international remote working through the lens of global mobility, and underlines the value of collaboration, with Covid-19 driving both instability and creativity in mobility, DEI, and more purpose-driven, sustainable mobility. Alongside talent, Covid-19 has undoubtedly been a key driver of change in people’s working habits and aspirations. Its impact on mobility programmes and the relocation supply chain as a whole “cannot be understated” says Crown World Mobility.  International remote working is also democratising global opportunities and the marketplace for knowledge workers in a way that was only once in reach of digital nomads. It is pushing the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) agenda, as well as the envelope on compliance.

International remote working in practice

Meeting employee needs for remote or hybrid work on international assignment is likely to be complex because of likely inconsistencies around remote work assumptions, even within the same organisation."An employee working in their home country on a team where remote and hybrid work is the norm might accept an assignment to a location or team where employees are being encouraged to work in the office,” notes Crown. “This would be an important discussion to have prior to the assignment in order to manage expectations.” Technology also has a critical role in safeguarding people on international assignments and for compliance, says Crown. “Organisations need to consider compliance requirements alongside today’s recruitment and retention requirements for having flexible work options. Companies with business travel tracking technology will have a head start in formalising international remote work options.”

Is it possible to work from anywhere?

The shift to international remote and hybrid work for globally mobile and distributed talent brings a risk that legislators will clamp down on practices deemed to be unfair or harmful. Crown foresees “more scrutiny from governments to protect local jobs in some locations,” which underscores the importance of collaboration and keeping knowledge up to date.  However, the new mobility landscape post-pandemic means that big life decisions, like relocation, might get easier for dual-career families. “Depending on the company and role, there is more of a possibility than ever to find companies and managers willing to support a remote employee who is accompanying their partner on an assignment,” finds Crown. “Remote work continues to have compliance issues attached to it and is not always simple, but companies are better equipped and more prepared to understand the process and make it work than they were prior to the pandemic.” Writing in the spring 2022 issue of Think Global People, and celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Permits Foundation, which has campaigned successfully over two decades to improve the work visa status of accompanying partners, Dr Sue Shortland says that supporting dual-career families is a ‘triple win’. “Nations, employers and assignees/families all benefit from favourable visa regimes for accompanying partners.” 

Recruiting with diversity for growth

Including more people in the opportunities of cross-border working is one of the positive outcomes of the changing international mobility and remote working arena. It also allows employers access to global talent pools and the growth that comes with more diverse viewpoints and low vacancy rates. For Crown, “these pandemic-era flexible workplace alternatives are real game changers for recruiting diverse candidates“Recruiters have long been limited to candidate pools near a company’s office locations. When you can recruit from any location, you can attract talent from almost anywhere, too.  “Companies have begun to determine which roles fall into the remote or hybrid categories and are starting to tap into a more diverse candidate pool. This shift will change the faces of the leadership and mobility pipeline in many organisations.” 
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Join us at the Future of Work Festival on 9 June to explore these topics further and be part of a unique experience driving innovation and collaboration for growth. Book tickets here.

Find out about sponsorship and position your brand and help shape the agenda of our thought leadership hubs at the Future of Work Festival on 9 June.

Read more about international remote working, DEI and immigration in the Spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

Read more international assignment news here.

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