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Remote Jobs: Go Global, Go Local COVID-19 lockdown, work from home alone, and social distancing have changed my perception about remote work and remote hiring practices.

By Lilia Stoyanov Edited by Jason Fell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If before the coronavirus pandemic access to talent and diversity of thought were the main driver for all remote companies to hire overseas, now the trend is shifting.

Five years ago, when we founded Transformify HR Suite, I was convinced that remote work was the future. Our team was initially scattered across the globe in various time zones and people were working from home, co-working spaces and cafes.

Over the years, it became obvious that managing remote teams is all about collaboration and instant communication which is hard if one team member has just fallen asleep while others elsewhere in the world are having their morning coffee.

Naturally, we built remote teams in three time zones and arranged them in a way that there are no bottlenecks. Developers were always five hours ahead of the QAs so when the QAs start the day there's fresh code to test but there are is an overlap of at least two hours to be able to ask questions to the developers. It worked ( and it will always work for us) and Transformify expanded to 150+ countries thanks to flexibility, access to talent and diversity of thought as everyone was bringing a fresh point of view to the table based on their previous experience.

Five years later, after spending one month in COVID-19 lockdown, I believe that people need to socialize even more. Transformify is an all-remote company, our team members have never met in person and it is a great case study to showcase to employers and persuade them to create work from home jobs for vulnerable people miles away. We need to face the reality – victims of abuse living in safe shelters, people less able to move, youth in conviction centers and vulnerable people, in general, have no other option than working remotely.

However, if there are no limiting factors requiring people to work from home, safe shelters or remotely, meeting face-to-face is still important and will always be. To me, it became obvious when instead of working from busy co-working spaces and meeting lots of new people daily, I had to work from home for a month, not to mention that lockdown is likely to be extended.

COVID-19 lockdown, work from home alone, and social distancing have changed my perception about remote work and Tranformify's remote hiring practices.

Creating remote jobs locally.

Millions of people across the globe have lost their jobs or compelled to extended unpaid leave. If talent in tech hubs was previously scarce, now it's in abundance. As Transformify is based in London, these days I am predominantly looking to hire in the UK but outside of London, in the small cities where the unemployment rate is much higher.

Why so? Creating remote jobs in the country of incorporation gives back to society. Over the years, Transformify has been supported by Virgin Startup, Virgin Unite, DIT ( Department for International Trade), Social Enterprise UK, We Connect International and many other organizations in the UK.

If jobs are not provided to the people living in small cities across the country, they will have no other choice than to relocate to London in a search of a job which is not good for the environment, neither it is good for the people. Not to mention that pandemics always thrive in overcrowded cities.

Commuting to London daily for two hours or more is even worse as the air we breathe is already polluted and we've seen the positive effect of no daily commute on the air quality during COVID-19 lockdown.

Besides the positive effect on climate change, local remote jobs have another major advantage – people can come to the office in London once per month and meet face to face, participate in training, brainstorm on our growth and market expansion strategy and finally have dinner and party together.

Having people in the same tax jurisdiction is a big relief for employers as they need to be in compliance with the local legislation. Legal and tax advisory costs skyrocket if the team is scattered across the globe and the employer needs to figure out how to classify overseas remote workers, their country of tax residence, which party needs to file tax returns and where and much more.

Creating overseas remote jobs.

We will continue to create overseas remote jobs for vulnerable people, especially in countries where the unemployment rate is high and local businesses are struggling to survive, let alone dedicate budget on social initiatives.

Transformify has launched a Sustainable Remote Jobs Initiative to tackle unemployment amid coronavirus outbreak and previously, we've participated in initiatives providing training on the job to vulnerable youth in conviction centers in Peru and victims of domestic abuse and acid attacks in India.

Apart from participating in social initiatives, all-remote companies are likely to be questioned by the labor agency in the country of incorporation when creating remote jobs overseas. As COVID-19 pandemic had an extremely negative impact on the global economy, all governments across the globe are concerned about rising unemployment rates locally and encourage businesses to create jobs in the country of incorporation.

Still, global businesses need to have employees overseas especially when it comes to sales and marketing. After living in South Korea for five months, I don't imagine that Korean and Japanese markets can be served out of the UK even though we can find native speakers locally. The same is valid for other overseas markets and most all-remote companies will continue to create overseas remote jobs when entering new markets.

There's hardly anything more unnatural for a digital nomad and the founder of an all-remote company than working from home alone and being unable to travel. On the good side, this experience changed my perception about remote work and its positive impact on climate change and human lives. Technology supports us in every step, but we are human, and nothing can replace face to face meetings from time to time.

If before creating remote jobs to me meant to go global, now it also means to go local and support the UK economy.

Lilia Stoyanov

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO and Angel Investor at Transformify. Fintech Expert.Professor.

Lilia Stoyanov is a chief executive officer and angel investor at Transformify. A fintech and digital transformation expert, she is also a professor at Zigurat Business School and expert evaluator Horizon 2020 at the European Commission.
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