The northern European country of Estonia is now home to not one, not two, but five unicorns. With the recent majority investment in Pipedrive from Vista Equity Partners, the sales CRM company is now valued at over USD$1 billion, joining the ranks of Estonia-founded Skype, Taxify, TransferWise, and Playtech. This gives Estonia the largest number of unicorns per capita of any small country in the world.

Anyone surprised that companies are finding blockbuster success outside of the popular tech hubs hasn’t been paying attention. Silicon Valley isn’t the only place innovation and growth are happening at lightning speed.

In fact, due to global events of the past year, there’s a new work location that’s taken many by surprise. That location is – everywhere.

Covid-19 triggered the world’s most massive remote work experiment, and the impact is here to stay. From the perspective of someone on the front lines of global hiring, engagement, and retention, I am happy to report that the results are positive, and the benefits are real.

Pre-pandemic, companies blindly accepted the notion that location incubates talent, and that you could only perform at the highest level if you showed up at the office every day. Today and going forward, a paradigm shift about the nature of work – how it gets done, where it gets done, and who gets it done – has moved society into the era of global remote teams in one of the most sudden, profound social shifts of all time. Nothing will ever be the same.

global mindset

The advent of global remote work: a win-win for companies and employees

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report, 85 percent of employees are not engaged at work. However, study after study shows that of those who are engaged and satisfied with their job, there is a high likelihood they work remotely most or all of the time.

Gallup also reported that those who spend at least 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely were more likely to be engaged.

Owl Labs 2019 State of Remote Work report found that remote employees stay with their company longer and report being happy at work 22 percent more often than in-office workers.

And a recent CNBC Survey Monkey Workforce Survey reported that remote employees are more likely to report that they’re satisfied with their job, they have opportunities to advance their career, and that their contributions are valued.

[bctt tweet=”Gallup also reported that those who spend at least 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely were more likely to be engaged.” username=”globalpeo”]

Even before the pandemic, 85 percent of companies reported an increase in productivity with a remote or flexible work policy. But some feared that with the sudden shift to remote work, overall output would plummet. They were in for a shock.

Major companies like Cisco report surprising increases in efficiency and productivity due to shifting to a remote work environment (and this is during a pandemic). In a study commissioned by Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and KRC Research found that 82 percent of executives reported productivity levels either remained the same or increased after shifting to remote work.

Remote work

Provide benefits that go beyond productivity and engagement

Today’s CEOs have also realized that it’s not just about productivity of the existing workforce that lives within 50 miles of your office building. It’s about getting vital roles filled in the first place. Often, that top talent you need doesn’t exist in a commutable radius.

While some companies depend on immigration programs to relocate talent, those avenues are facing increasing restriction. All the while, the skills gap widens. The U.S. had 918,000 unfilled IT jobs in 2019. In fact, some predictions state that by 2028, continued talent shortages in engineering and manufacturing industries will result in a loss of $454 billion in economic output.

So not only will companies begin looking outside of their city, but in the case of U.S.-based companies, looking even further afield and tapping into the global talent pool not only makes sense – it may be vital.

The benefits of finding the talent are compounded by the fact that some of the world’s best multilingual talent, with English fluency, is located in lower-cost jurisdictions. Finding a data analyst in Poland or software engineer in Mexico has a high probability of positively impacting your business, not only because the talent exists but because it’s a lot less expensive than filling all your seats in San Francisco.

Remote work

How remote work has the power to change the shape of society

Besides offering freedom to employees to work from where they want to be, embracing global remote teams is transformational on a societal level. It leads to a whole range of cultural, financial and social improvements in addition to the positive bottom-line business impact:

  • Lower cost of living and higher quality of living: Boston rents have dropped 7% in some locations, while San Francisco rents decrease by as much as 31%. As many city-dwellers vacate to the suburbs, cities become less congested.
  • Stronger families: Skipping two hours of commute time each way every day means more time with families.  That’s a wonderful outcome for society.
  • Climate impact: Fewer commuters means a drop in emissions. Back in March, Los Angeles residents were shocked at their ability to see the ocean from distant viewpoints. Since transportation accounts for a high percentage of the air quality problems in the area, the sudden mobility shutdown immediately had an impact.
  • Heal the urban/rural divide: As people move to new locations and connect with locals in new locations, they get to know each other, understand each other better, and have more empathy for different viewpoints. In many locations, tech workers in cities have had very different viewpoints than those in more rural areas. As the urban/rural divide blend and start to see each other’s viewpoints, our politicians will have to govern for all of us, instead of dividing us along traditional battle lines.

Culture in the workplace

  • The democratization of opportunity: From a high-growth company located outside of a tech hub, to a talented individual from a developing country, remote work breaks down barriers to growth. Companies can access the best talent, and candidates have access to great jobs, which in turn elevates local economies around the world.

Go where the talent lives

As a global community, we’re at a crossroads. We can work to sustain the momentum of innovation and embrace the better ways we’ve learned to work and live. Or executives can ignore the inevitable, and likely get left behind by those that harness these benefits to their advantage.

Companies that not only allow remote work but embrace it and make it a core tenet of their talent acquisition strategy are going to come out on top. Building your own team in Estonia…or South Africa, Vietnam, Colombia, and more, gives your company the edge. Hire anyone, anywhere – it’s time.

International hiring

How a Global Employer of Record can help

Globalization Partners makes it possible for companies to hire anyone, anywhere, quickly and easily. Use our AI-driven, automated, fully compliant global Employer of Record platform powered by our in-house worldwide HR experts. You choose the candidate you wish to hire, and we take care of payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance. Grow your global team in days with the named industry leader that consistently attains 97% customer satisfaction ratings. With Globalization Partners, you can succeed faster.

Nicole Sahin is Founder & CEO of Globalization Partners. Globalization Partners enables companies to hire great talent anywhere in the world. Companies can bypass the legal, HR and tax complexities of hiring in another country while getting all the benefits of a global team. Sahin’s vision and leadership made Globalization Partners one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2020 according to the Financial Times. Globalization Partners was also named Employer of Record industry leader by analyst firm NelsonHall. Sahin was recently recognized as an Inc. Magazine Top 100 Female Founder. 

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