Out with the old: Remote work’s borderless opportunities

For organisations looking to tap into global talent markets, the remote work model is proving to be a competitive advantage, a study from late 2022 shows.

Concerns about the long-term feasibility of remote work has concerned business leaders since the beginning of the pandemic, but more opportunities than challenges have arisen from this era, according to new research from Remote, a global human resources and compliance solutions company for remote teams.

The report, 2023 Remote Workforce Report: The Rise of Globally Distributed Teams, found that decision-makers across four regions remain optimistic about the growth of remote work and expect this growth to continue over the next five years. They have also found that hiring remote workers has cut costs, most notably expenses related to office space, the report said. Recruiting costs have risen in some cases, but this is an area leaders insist "is worth the investment".

The findings come from discussions with 495 decision-makers and 509 employees from North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions in November 2022.

For many companies, a distributed remote workforce model gives them a competitive advantage and opens up new markets for business, the report said. Sixty per cent of respondents said the number of quality applicants per open role has increased since their company adopted this model, and 35% said "they can improve market competitiveness by serving more international locations when they hire international remote employees".

More companies are looking to long-term advantages over short-term fixes, the report says, and hiring remotely has been a proactive solution to retention problems. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents who are part of a distributed remote workforce said retention has increased since adopting a distributed workforce model, and 57% said a distributed remote workforce makes it easier to hire and keep talent, the report said.

Fears surrounding productivity and employee engagement from distributed remote workspaces continue to be challenged, according to the report, as respondents surveyed said the opposite is true — 40% of decision-makers in fully remote companies attest to an increase in employee productivity, and 36% note an increase in engagement.

Even as the future of work is projected to become more remote, holding on to office locations is still a priority for many companies, despite the operational costs. "Unwilling to give up office space while also hiring remote employees, companies are stretching their budgets in areas where they may not need to," the report says, "opening offices to meet requirements to hire workers in other countries without considering less expensive options".

However, there are other considerations at play. The new prospects of fully remote work models continue to amplify the generational divide in today's workforces: 75% of older workers surveyed would not leave their current job to pursue remote working opportunities, while 42% of younger employees would. Because of complexities in employee preferences, hybrid models continue to be favoured by companies over fully remote models, the report says, as employers feel that they are more flexible and allow employees to choose what works best for them.

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