If there’s a single good thing to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s the shift to remote work.
As of April, the percentage of US employees allowed to work from home jumped from 37% to 57%, which is good for both employees and employers. One study found that the rise in off-site offices coincided with a 47% increase in productivity. And in early May, Gallup noted that 38% of workers in the US reported feeling “engaged” in their roles – the highest percentage since the survey began in 2000. Research shows that workers reporting higher levels of engagement are more likely to stay, attract new customers, and treat existing customers very well.
But if employees don’t need to be in the office to work effectively, do they actually need to be in the same country? The technology enabling companies like Twitter to take their teams off-site can also be used to facilitate international employment. Enterprises can hire foreign workers without asking them to relocate or even step foot in the country. And for some, “virtual immigration” has been a reality since long before the pandemic.
Founder of HRTechRadar, Anita Lettink, has been working in the HR-tech space for around 20 years, a large portion of which, she says, has been spent managing global teams and customers “from anywhere.” Her belief is that the global pandemic has given many organizations the push they need to start hiring based on talent rather than location like such innovative companies as Basecamp and InVision.
“People are going to start asking their managers, ‘Why do I need to sit in traffic every day for two hours when I can just be as productive at home?’“ she says. “And if that’s accepted, it increases the possibility of opening up hiring to people around the world. After all, if you work from home, you’re not in the office. So what does it matter where that home is?”
That said, Anita doesn’t believe virtual immigration will overtake location-based hiring any time soon, adding, “We predict that the future of work will involve a mixed setup of on-site and remote workers.” Because while remote collaboration does have its benefits, there are still some obvious limitations.