December 29, 2020 • By The Zirtual Team
Remote working has always made international teams more possible and appealing. When everyone is logging into a shared collaboration platform, it doesn't matter whether a person is ten feet or ten-thousand miles from another team member. This broadens your horizons for talent acquisition, recruitment, collaboration, and diversity. With the recent explosion of remote work in every industry, international employees are swiftly becoming part of the new normal.
However, an important aspect of remote work is equipping each team member with the gear needed to work remotely. Each person needs a working laptop and a high-speed internet connection - along with the other basics that make a home office work for their specific role. While you can order a batch of everything and ship them easily to your national employees, what about the international members of staff?
From lifestyle to availability to home architecture - you will need to consider a far greater logistical task to equally equip your international hires for remote work. Let's dive into the top practical tips for your remote equipment plan.
For each employee working remotely, make sure they have access to high-speed internet. Their access is determined by local signal, wire, and services. Discover the local internet providers, along with their plans and available speeds. Look into both wireless hotspot providers and wired cable or fiber internet. Choose the best high-speed option, cost it, and ensure it is available exactly at the team member's address (internet service maps are lot-by-lot specific).
Be prepared to provide for local internet costs and any equipment or setup necessary to prepare each remote employee - wherever they may be located.
Once your remote team has the internet they need, you must ensure that they can work with the team on remote platforms. For a remote but singularly national team, it's easy to forget that not all software or web services are available internationally. Look for platforms that are universally available, or available in all countries where you have team members. Try services like Groove, World Time Buddy, and Papaya are all great choices for managing an international team.
With your software stack built, you can define the necessary specs for your team's equipment purchases and even kit laptops with the necessary software before shipping.
Different countries handle addresses differently. When an employee gives you their shipping address - take it down exactly as written or indicated. Then do your best to enter it into the online order forms in a way that will reach your international team's home addresses. If necessary, work with shipping experts who know how to send packages to international addresses and access international versions of your preferred equipment-sourcing websites.
When providing home-office equipment for your team, don't forget that not everyone has the 'basics' for a home office. International hires also means preparing for lifestyles, architecture, or home-essentials that are not within your expectations. International hires might have a decked-out home office, or they might need to build a home workspace from the ground up.
So have a budget just-in-case for anyone who needs the basics like a desk set, shelves, locking cabinets, a home printer, and other things that you might consider to be assumed present in a local professional's home
When shipping anything from laptops to desk chairs, consider finding a local provider and shipping partner. There's no need to ship a laptop internationally when the same model and configuration is for sale in a box store a few miles from the team member's home. Know how to find what you need locally, and you will save hundreds in shipping - and often worthwhile savings in local prices as well. Only ship long-distance if the bulk savings outweighs the shipping cost.
International recruiting and remote positions also means consideration of home-office accommodation. For example, an employee (located anywhere) might need an ergonomic keyboard or a larger monitor for large-text UI. They might need a small-sized chair, or a back pillow. You might provide childcare accommodation or transport or even curtains and room dividers to make a more private home workspace.
Accommodation can be provided for documented disabilities or just to help your national and international remote team reach their best at-home efficiency.
Finally, maintain a margin budget for solutions that are needed along the way. As the world adapts to remote work and more international team members, workflows will be honed, and circumstances will change. Keep a budget and logistical network ready for any solutions that might need to be enacted over the next year. It is especially important to keep an open mind and some margin for flex when working with international employees whose complications will be more challenging to predict.
If you are looking to expand your remote team with new remote hires, it's important to also broaden your logistical and technological horizons as well. International hires are a great source of skill and diversity. For more great remote recruiting and team building insights, contact us today!