Work from anywhere is a growing trend. Image: Shutterstock
Employers and employees should be aware of the opportunities offered by international remote work, as companies seek to build fully remote overseas teams.
Talk to information age During a visit to Sydney last week, Mark Porter, CTO of database company MongoDB, suggested that Australian companies should rely on internationally available talent to support their internal innovation, both that they respect time zones.
“I’m very passionate about having complete vertical teams that can design, engineer, build, deploy and support their product without going through the New York time zone or the Dublin time zone.
“Otherwise they spend their lives too late in the day or too early in the day – or waiting – and that leads to delays.”
Porter runs a 1,000-strong global engineering organization, but tries to keep product line workers located latitudinally.
WiredTiger, MongoDB’s open-source storage system, is largely maintained and operated out of Sydney, for example, away from the company’s New York headquarters.
Porter doesn’t mind having the remote teams in Dublin and Barcelona working on the same product due to their similar time zones (only an hour difference), but would avoid spreading their workforce much further away to minimize disruption.
“As far as possible for Australian businesses, my recommendation is that you are very aware of time zones,” Porter said.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t have teams in other geographies, but try to ensure they have a comprehensive product to work on to minimize disruption at the individual level.”
Digital nomads unite
IT professionals are among the most in-demand remote workers, according to remote job board Flexjobs – which warns that even many fully remote positions may have geographic requirements due to time zones.
Because IT professionals are so needed right now, international remote work can be valuable not just for companies looking to grow a virtual workforce, but for employees as well.
A recent global survey found that remote tech workers reported earning nearly twice as much as their in-office counterparts.
The rise of remote working has also helped excite the digital nomad movement which sees people traveling the world with their laptops in hand, usually on tourist visas, working remotely from coworking spaces.
It’s a movement that even has its own activists who see digital nomads as pioneers of a borderless, globally connected community.
Plumia is a project spun off from travel insurance company SafetyWing and aims to “build an internet country for digital nomads”.
The vision is to create a passport-like service, to which countries would subscribe, allowing people to travel and work freely without being stopped by border patrols who wonder why they get off a plane in suits if they are traveling Visa.
Having seen firsthand the power of technology to transform the way we live, work and play, Plumia’s Executive Director, Lauren Razavi, wants to make the digital nomad lifestyle more accessible.
Razavi’s idea is disruptive, as she recently explained to Dave Cook of the University of College London for an article in the conversation.
“The nation state is outdated – it’s based on 19th century thinking, and we aim to disrupt all of that,” she said.
“We’re all signed up for this automatic subscription based on the coincidence of our birthplace or our heritage, and it really doesn’t work in the 21st century.”