Globalization and Its Effects on Remote Work

remote work and globalization

Globalization has allowed a greater exchange of goods, technology, information, and people from all over the world. It changed the face of organizations, which must adapt to changing workplace trends and requirements.

These include respecting diversity, being mobile, and being able to work in or manage teams remotely.

A company’s organizational design and business processes must be adjusted continuously to accommodate ongoing changes in business trends, means of communication, and the people we work with.

In this article, we find out how globalization changed the way we work, and in particular, how it affected remote work.

Technological Changes and How They Enable Globalization

The changes in the way we communicate and exchange information over the past few years enabled globalization which, in effect, now affects the way we work and live.

Developments in technology allowed information to become accessible to more people across the globe. These also gave way to a broader means of communication, allowing people to meet, work, and collaborate remotely.

In a paper by Davidekova and Gregus, they argue that the developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) drive globalization by removing “traditional” limitations such as distance, wide gaps in execution times, accessibility, and the storing and processing of large volumes of information.

They also posit that the increasingly virtual environment plays a crucial role in productivity by improving processes through methods that increase efficiency, execution, and operation.

Globalization and the Modern Workplace

Globalization changed the way we work and how we approach the various aspects of our respective organizations.

The advantages from this include having access to a global market, fostering cross-cultural management, promoting further advancements in technology, and paving the way for more profitable investments.

It isn’t a new phenomenon; for decades, we were interdependent on other countries’ economies, cultures, goods, and populations.

During the recent years, however, its impact became more pronounced. Below are some of the changes in the workplace and how we work brought about by globalization:

Access to a wider talent pool

Globalization paved the way for the growth and development of the remote workforce.

Your organization is no longer restrained to finding talents within your immediate location. Your organization’s hiring process can also be adjusted to accommodate the best potential talents from anywhere in the world.

Cultural diversity

With the growth of the globalized economy comes workplace diversity.

This means having individuals who work across different locations and time zones, and who bring to the table different values, work ethics, practices, and skillsets.

This can be challenging, but when managed properly, diversity can become an asset as it brings together different ideas, insights, and perspectives which can contribute to your organization’s growth.

Coaching and training

Globalization can lead to career development.

A diverse workplace is fertile ground for coaching and training of employees who need to be equipped with certain knowledge and skills, such as cultural competency. This helps them connect with and understand a more global audience.

Changes in job responsibilities and skills

The emergence of remote work prompted and encouraged adaptability in workers. That and globalization shifted job responsibilities, expanding an organizations’ operations and leading to the possibility of employees taking on new roles that require new skill sets.

Globalization and Remote Work

Globalization has impacted remote work and its various programs, introducing ways that promote flexibility and mobility, remote training, and remote work across borders.

Industries such as call centers, offshore data processing, and software development have turned to “de-localizing”, outsourcing jobs such as information processing work and data entry.

Globalization also shifted the work paradigm, with some companies promoting “remote-first” work, like  Doist.

Doist changed the way they work, believing that remote-first work can foster the revitalization of local communities, give small companies a more competitive edge, and promote work-life balance.

They also believe that it can close the gender gap in the workforce, promoting employee engagement and positively impacting employee retention.

One example of how they accomplished this is by distributing all their processes around the world, from product development to human resources. The company also doesn’t have a single headquarters.

Flexibility and Mobility

Remote work combines flexibility and mobility, allowing employees to stay with their respective companies or departments while able to move outside their offices, and even as far as another city somewhere across the world.

When it comes to differing time zones, companies such as Dell encourage flexibility and mobility through programs like their Connected Workplace program.

This gives workers freedom on how they structure their workday according to the global market needs. They can start their day early to complete a project and take a break mid-shift to run personal errands.

Remote Training

Technology allows training to be conducted remotely as well, with experts from another part of the world providing mentorship to talents in different countries.

There are many cases where training is only provided in English, which leaves behind individuals who could greatly benefit from being trained in their own language.

By closing in on language gap through the localization of training materials used, remote training can address problems of people moving away from their original offices because of economic and professional factors.

Cross-border Remote Work

Globalization makes it easier for companies to find and engage workers with specific skills, even if they’re halfway across the world.

Companies like Mobile Minds find ways to connect companies with refugees who are potential work candidates but are unable to find work in their home countries.

There may be challenges when it comes to standardization of qualifications and certifications, but various organizations and businesses are now working on these issues. One solution includes the development of standardized university certifications.

Training for Low-income Employees

Remote work also enables low-income earners to gain skills that allow them to more easily work for companies around the world. For example, women employed by Sama Group, a nonprofit organization, enjoy being paid fair wages for their labor through training they receive.

The Sama Group’s goal is to train local, low-income earners in digital work and then provide them with occupations from different companies around the world.

They have programs based in countries like Kenya and India which train workers to conduct digital tagging for stock photo company Getty Images, providing individuals with usable skills and access to opportunities they might otherwise not have.

The Future of Remote Work

Remote work isn’t just a fad that will go away anytime soon. Executives predict that by 2020, remote work will be the new norm for at least 50% of the workforce. Changes in technology and shifts in management thinking prompt this prediction.

Globalization greatly benefits remote work, allowing people to exchange information and skills across borders with ease through rapidly evolving technology.

These advancements in technology make it easier than ever to bring people together, with communication made more convenient for individuals despite differing time zones.

Organizations already started adopting this practice among previously in-house employees, reaping benefits such as lower expenses, access to a wider, global talent pool, and access to diverse insights and perspectives.

With the continuing evolution of work trends and work practices, it’s likely we will see more innovations like the remote-first work paradigm, which aims to stretch the boundaries of remote work by decentralizing the workplace and job processes.