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Remote work: category-wise advantages and challenges

Remote team advantages

Today, remote work as a popular work design or method attracts significant attention among businesses of all sizes. This working method has become a norm that many companies have to adapt to fit into the new business environments of the “new normal” world. With the gaining popularity of remote work, remote teams or virtual teams emerged as a buzzword for businesses looking for cost-saving opportunities or overseas expansion.

However, “remote work” is an umbrella term that has different layers or categories. We can look at virtual teams from multiple angles as they may mean differently in different contexts. This blog will explain three categories of remote work based on different ways of working. Through these classifications, the key aspects of remote working get highlighted which helps in building the organizational strategies for remote teams. 

With this category-wise analysis, you can understand the unique advantages and challenges of each category of remote work. So if you prioritize the advantages that you wish to achieve out of virtual teams, you can first decide which type of team you should build and then strategies around it. 

Three categories of remote work

You can easily understand the nuances and variations in remote work once you explore the three categories. Remote work is categorized based on working methods, locations, and engagement methods associated with remote workers or employees.

These parameters explain all facets of a remote or virtual team and help you understand the kinds of strategies you need to build to fulfill your business goals. 

1. Types of working methods:

Based on how a remote team works, we can look at two types of working methods, namely, fully remote and another is hybrid.  

  • Fully remote: In a fully remote working model, employees have the complete freedom to work from anywhere he/she wants. It can be working from home or during travel, away from the head office. To mention a few examples, GitLab Inc. has been an ardent advocate of full remote working. Cost-saving operations, and employees’ work-life balance are the key advantages of the fully remote working model. Meanwhile, the major challenges of this model are cultural and technology or communication issues.
  • Hybrid model: In this model, employees have the conditions to work from the office for a few days and work from home (WFH) for the rest of the working days in a week. Many giant companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, Citigroup, Ford Motor Co., etc. adopt this model to ensure employee work convenience. The primary advantages of this model are the work flexibility of employees and it does not arise company culture issues. However, the hybrid model is sometimes more expensive than the fully remote as it adds more costs to facilitate work-from-home (WFH) for employees at the top of office expenses.

2. Locations of remote teams:

Your business strategies may vary depending on the location of your remote teams. You have two options to choose from — inside your country or outside your country. Understanding the advantages and challenges of having a remote team in different locations can be beneficial in deciding an effective business strategy.

  • Within your country: Employees stay in the same country where the company is located but may base in different cities and states. High convenience for employees, urgent travel conveniences, rare language & time-zone issues, and fewer requirements for technology arrangements are the major benefits of having a remote team within your country. However, the key challenges of this model include no cost-benefits to the organization and limited access to talented resources across the globe.
  • Outside your country: Hiring remote workers outside the country is done for different reasons. Companies often hire remote workers in different countries with the help of external or third-party agencies. Having a remote team outside your country will give you the benefits of low-labor costs, access to a pool of talented workers, and reduced overhead costs. Meanwhile, you may face challenges such as requirements of high time investment, time zone and cultural differences, and regulatory compliance issues if any.

3. Options for remote team engagements:   

Companies looking for remote workers inside their country or hybrid work practices will have limited engagement options. So, if you look toward building remote teams outside your country, you can opt for various engagement options that fit your budgets and other requirements. Let’s briefly explore each option:

  • Outsourcing: It is most tried and tested when you need a ready-made and experienced team for your remote services. 
  • Contractors/freelancers: They are available for short-term projects and are suitable if you want flexible hiring and need subject matter experts for your remote jobs.
  • International PEO/EOR: This model helps recruit fresh talents to form a new team for you. The model is suitable for hiring new remote talents and managing them effectively.  
  • Subsidiary formation: You can consider this option when you want to establish a physical entity or expand your business operation in a particular country.

How is EOR beneficial for effective remote work strategies?

We all know there is no single strategic option that fits all businesses. But, one thing is sure, a well-designed remote work strategy can reduce the risks involved and enhance the management approach of your remote workforce.

As already discussed, you can opt for fully remote workers outside your country if you are looking for cost-saving operations and tapping into the global talent pool. To help formulate a comprehensive strategy for your team, you can take help from employer of record (EOR) partners. 

An EOR partner will help overseas companies reduce their administrative burdens, by taking away the responsibilities of all compliance needs and minimizing the challenges of handling remote teams in different countries. EORs ensure the effective implementation of your remote team strategies by relieving you from stress regarding regulatory compliance issues and risks of managing remote workers. 

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