Why global teams and remote work can help stave off economic downturn

Despite higher interest rates, supply chain issues and inflation that is proving surprisingly resistant to fiscal policies imposed by the Reserve Bank, the Australian economy is still relatively strong. Stimulus measures put in place and the rebound in global demand for Aussie commodities have supported the economic recovery, but the ever-present need for talented staff – and the shortages of them – is choking any real momentum out of this recovery.

Coupled with these issues, the questions of global recession remain with the recent collapse of Silicon Valley bank, the bail-out of Credit Suisse, and the subsequent ripple effect sending tremors across the finance industry. Wise firms of all sizes are looking for ways to shore up capital and proceed cautiously. Tapping new markets remains a priority as local demand begins to soften, but finding the balance between growth, expansion and prudence is critical.

The Jobs and Skills Summit brought many industry groups and other stakeholders together to address the challenges of talent shortages and find ways of maximising opportunities.

But it is widely considered that Australia needs to increase skilled immigration, and despite initiatives like the Global Talent Ambassador program and lifting the migration cap to 195,000 per annum, the current system presents a serious bottleneck to motivated individuals.

The current system is mired in bureaucracy with more than 70 different visa programs. Further to this, each role must be advertised locally before being opened up to skilled migrants, which further slows down the recruitment process. To move forward with caution and remain risk-averse while looking for new opportunities, progressive firms are considering the role of remote hiring – for local, regional and even workers in other jurisdictions.

Benefits of building global teams and remote work

Here are the benefits of building global teams and remote work during economic pressure:

Cost savings

In some cases, hiring global teams and remote work ultimately eliminates the need for a physical office or at least leads to a smaller physical footprint for the company.

This has the obvious effect of reducing rent and utility costs, as well as office furniture and workplace tech – which can be especially important during economic downturns. Further to corporate savings, global software giant Cisco released a report stating that the average Australian had saved $10,000 working remotely, due to the reduction in commuting, food, and other related expenses. Thus, positively impacting both employers and employees alike.

Increased productivity

Recent research studies have shown that teams with flexible working schedules tend to be more productive due to reduced distractions and improved work-life balance.

In its research paper titled: Working from Home, the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission said of remote work: “This showed that many people could do their jobs at home just as well as in the office. Workers really valued the time and money saved through not commuting, as well as the extra flexibility in their lives. And some firms can see potential productivity improvements and/or cost savings in a world of more work from home.”

Access to a wider talent pool

With global teams being accepted and widely adopted by many organisations, companies are no longer limited to hiring domestically as they can now hire employees from anywhere in the world, providing access to a much larger pool of talent. And ultimately, many companies have turned to the employer of record (EOR) model for their remote hiring needs.

EOR and global employment platforms such as G-P allow companies to hire anywhere instantly in a legally compliant manner without the need to set up an overseas subsidiary.

This plays well for dynamic firms looking to expand into new markets, to consolidate their businesses during hard times. It has been touted as a smart solution to helping businesses with their remote hiring and overseas expansion needs. One example, Sydney-based Aurora Expeditions, used the G-P employment platform to find employees during the pandemic, which saved them time and overheads while allowing for expansion into new markets.

Mick Mag, Chief Financial Officer at Aurora Expeditions
Mick Mag, Chief Financial Officer at Aurora Expeditions

Chief Financial Officer at Aurora Expeditions, Mick Mag, said: “Instead of the complexities and difficulties involved with setting up our own entity, such as finding legal representatives, insurance agents and accountants in new markets, we are able to use a single platform that enables us to hire team members in just a few clicks. This gives us the flexibility we need while ensuring we are compliant with all the local rules and laws in that particular country.”

Improved employee satisfaction

Remote work allows employees to have more control over their work environment, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover. According to a major global research report by Globalization Partners (G-P), more than 70 percent of Australian workers stated that the ‘quality of their work decreases when they are not happy at their job’, which suggests remote work is an integral part of both happiness AND productivity moving forward.

Remote work also allows employees to better balance work and personal responsibilities, which can ultimately lead to improved mental health and job satisfaction. As ‘no-brainer’ as this might sound, 21 percent of surveyed Australians reportedly taking time off work over the past 12 months did so because they “felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy”, any steps we can take as a society to improve that statistic is important.

Building global teams can offer improved productivity, access to a wider talent pool, cost savings, and improved employee satisfaction, making it an attractive option for firms during economic downturns, as well as those looking to tap into diverse markets to create new revenue streams. It offers a cost-effective and fast option for expanding into new markets and finding the talent required to facilitate growth – irrespective of local business conditions.

Charlie Ferguson is the General Manager Asia-Pacific at Globalization Partners.

Charlie Ferguson is the General Manager Asia-Pacific at Globalization Partners.