Although localisation has always had elements of either remote-first or remote-friendly working, it is far more prevalent in the industry now. The business landscape has changed dramatically over the last two years, with the pandemic forcing companies to embrace and accelerate the transition towards remote work.
According to a recent study by Owl Labs, 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home and 74% say that having the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company.
Just 44% of companies around the world don’t allow remote working and, according to another survey, 73% of all work departments expect to have remote workers by 2028. In essence, the writing is on the wall and remote working is here to stay.
The term ‘remote’, however, does not fit neatly into one category. In fact, it covers a broad spectrum of structures and approaches. Many companies are still figuring out what works best for them, operating on a partial or fully remote basis.
In this article, we outline the differences between Remote-First and Remote-Friendly localisation roles, comparing their respective benefits and challenges for companies and employees.
Remote-First and Remote-Friendly: what’s the difference?
A ‘remote-first’ workplace is one in which all employees work on a remote basis, and the company’s workflows, software, policies and procedures are designed to support a fully remote workstyle. Remote-first companies sometimes establish a centralised HQ and/or local co-working spaces that employees can avail of if they wish.
‘Remote-friendly’, on the other hand, means that employees can work remotely some of the time, but not all. This is also known as a hybrid model.
Remote-friendly companies have physical offices where operations are carried out, but employees are not required to be there every day. Policies vary widely between companies, so employees may be allowed to work from home anywhere from one to four days a week. Companies might also expect certain employees to come into the office more or less, depending on their role.
Remote-First advantages and challenges
Companies that embrace a remote-first approach can attract and hire top talent from around the world, enabling them to build diverse and inclusive teams. They do not need to pay for a large office to accommodate the entire workforce, and they can scale freely without having to worry about physically expanding the space.
Remote work has been shown to increase productivity and enable employees to have a better work-life balance. According to a recent study, 67% of those who worked from home during the pandemic were more productive than when they worked at an office, and 83% felt that remote work helped their mental health.
One of the challenges of a remote-first workplace includes hiring people with the right combination of skills and personal attributes. Remote-first roles require employees who are:
- Comfortable working independently for extended periods
- Able to manage their time and workload
- Proficient in asynchronous communication
Some people love working in solitude, while others thrive on face-to-face interaction and human contact. In remote-first workplaces, communication happens via video calls and messaging apps, so HR departments and team leaders need to work at developing a positive, inclusive company culture.
Another challenge of having a distributed workforce is that HR departments have to navigate the minefield of international tax, compliance, and legal regulations.
Remote-Friendly advantages and challenges
Remote-friendly organisations offer a ‘best of both worlds’ approach, combining the advantages of both remote and in-office work. Employees get more opportunities to collaborate and bond as a team, resulting in higher levels of engagement and productivity.
When it comes to challenges, there are some significant differences between remote-first and remote-friendly. The main one is that there are significant hiring limitations to consider with this model since companies are restricted to local talent pools.
Secondly, HR managers must ensure that there are processes in place to accommodate both off-site and on-site employees equally. Those who prefer working on-site may gain an advantage over remote employees, so team leaders and HR managers must actively work to eliminate proximity bias.
Another challenge to consider is that employees working from home may miss significant events, opportunities and decisions that happen at the office. This may cause them to feel isolated and disconnected from their in-office coworkers.
How does this affect applying for localisation roles?
We know that the transition towards remote work environments is here to stay, but this will look different for every organisation.
For candidates who are applying for localisation jobs, it is important to be aware of the differences between ‘remote-first’ and ‘remote-friendly’. Even local jobs can be remote in nature, so it’s up to each individual to decide what works best for them. Candidates must weigh up their priorities and decide what matters most in terms of location, flexibility, finances, and their personal working style.
So whether you’re recruiting for remote-first or remote-friendly hybrid roles, International Achievers Group remains at the forefront of localisation recruitment services.
We have an exceptional reputation for matching the right candidates with the right companies, so whether you’re expanding your team or looking to change careers, our experienced specialists are standing by to help.
Get in touch today.