Future of work

Remote work: A contributing force for a perfect storm for change and the race for talent

In a recent 2022 CEO Deloitte survey, 71% of chief executives expressed concerns about global labor/skills shortage as their top external challenge to their business strategy. From a global talent perspective, the rise of domestic and international remote work and increasingly dispersed talent is one of the five key forces creating a perfect storm for change and the race for talent.

Remote work—something that might have been thought to be a temporary work arrangement during the COVID-19 pandemic—has now become a cultural possibility, while some would even argue a health/wellness necessity. For many companies, remote work has become one of the key tools to enhance employee experience and attracting more talents. It also allows employers to find new talent outside of their usual local talent markets. With sustainability being in focus in recent years, implementation of remote work could also help advance sustainability goals (e.g., by reducing employee travel, promoting diverse equitable and inclusive culture).

According to the 2022 Deloitte Remote Work survey, 80% of organisations surveyed allow some level of remote work. Globally 35% of organisations surveyed allow cross-border remote work, with the remote workday thresholds ranging from 10 working days to unlimited days in a year. While many organisations are mindful of the need for compliance and risk mitigation and are trying to do so by defining guardrails, but management and enforcement of these guardrails is still a work in progress. Policies and regulations (e.g., singular global policy approach vs. local country policies), Tax compliance, Tracking and management of remote work requests and internal stakeholder alignments are some of the top challenges for many organisations.

With the current race for talent, talent should be considered with a more global mindset and an enhanced ability of technology ecosystems. While recognising the opportunities that remote work could bring, many organisations are only at the beginning of their remote work journeys when it comes to implementing longer term remote work strategies. Most organisations surveyed do not currently utilise virtual assignments, nor do they currently permit long term cross border remote working. Three out of five organisations surveyed do not leverage alternative employment models to manage cross-border remote work cases either.

The world of talent is getting increasingly complex. “Stealth” remote workers exists whether employers want to admit or not. Not addressing the situation face on has and will continue to cost companies much more than just tax liabilities. Organisations must put in place a proactive strategy, approach, and model to respond and overcome the challenges faced.

For further information, please contact Dion Thai.

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