Managing a workforce that is spread out over a couple of different time zones has always been a complex business. However, high-quality workforce management software has made most of the daily tasks associated with managing teams in different regions much simpler. Of course, throughout the course of 2020, many businesses – even those which have not traditionally relied on international operations – have found that time attendance software for coping with a more dispersed workforce has been hugely beneficial.
To be clear, the global pandemic has led to more and more people working in different places. As organisations have learned how to cope with such a decentralised model of working, so they have started to see how the physical location of team members has not been as important as it was previously thought to be. Nowadays, that means more businesses are willing to take on the challenge of managing a workforce that is not just staying at home more than coming into the office but one that is spread out around the world. Nevertheless, there are numerous hurdles that still need to be overcome to make managing a global workforce effectively a reality. What are they and how do modern software systems help?
Expanding a Workforce Around the World
Even as recently as last year, companies found that their pool for potential candidates they could draw from was relatively small. Certainly, this was the case in sectors of the economy where technical or specialist skills were in demand. This is because large numbers of businesses continued to operate on the basis that employees were expected to turn up to the office most days of the week. Even if a satellite office was in operation, it would still be expected that employees would need to attend the business headquarters every once in a while.
Since remote working became the norm in many industrial sectors, so the pool of candidates for positions has grown. No longer do companies always need to rely on attracting talent from job seekers in their locality. Nor do they have to come up with packages that will tempt skilled candidates into moving thousands of miles away so they can start working in the desired locale. The investment many businesses have made into IT systems that allow remote working to function also means that have the necessary infrastructure to hire a workforce that is worldwide in its composition. There are no visa complications, fewer relocation problems and less home-sickness to worry about. In short, with the right sort of software, higher-quality recruits can be attracted and retained – a big plus point for all sorts of enterprises.
Complications Arising From a Globally Dispersed Workforce
Of course, a significant challenge in developing a workforce that is split up not just within one or two time zones, but many, has been ensuring tasks are completed in a rational way. It is no good for process A to be undertaken after process B because the person doing the former is several daylight hours behind that latter. This is where time attendance software can be so beneficial because it not only helps managers to monitor who much people are at work even when they are functioning in a remote setting but to see what they are doing. In short, it means managers can produce more effective workflows that take advantage of multiple time zones to speed processes up, not slow them down.
When organised correctly, the complexity of global modes of working can actually become an advantage. The correct business tools, such as cutting edge workforce management software packages, turn such complications into something that can give well-managed a competitive edge over run-of-the-mill, 9 to 5 companies. After all, these firms have to wait 16 hoursat the end of each day between processes. In addition, many businesses that have taken on the challenge of globalising their workforce, even when there are potential language and cultural barriers to break down, find that their teams become more efficient, not less. Working from home often means that worker productivity goes up as there are fewer distractions and less daily hassles from commuting.
Employment Law in a Global Age
In fairness, even the best workforce management software cannot help businesses with all of the variations in employment law there are around the world. Workers in EU countries enjoy many of the same rights when working from home, regardless of their time zone. However, employees based in India, the Far East, Australia and America are all likely to have different sickness and holiday rights. Writing contracts for a globally dispersed workforce that take into account the various jurisdictions companies might have to adhere to is something to pay close attention to.
In the end, however, what will often count if there is a case of employment inequality is the measures employers have put in place to offer everyone an equal playing field no matter where they are working. In short, this will mean that an Irish employee and a teammate in Japan might have very different contractual terms. So long as they can be interpreted with equanimity, however, then such technical differences should not matter. To justify how this works in practice, proper record keeping of work times and task-based activities may need to be produced. Simply put, workplace management software that is designed for the global age is what is needed to keep track of activities, not just going forward but as a record of past fair-dealing.
Management Structures That are Suited to 24-Hour Operations
Finally, it is worth mentioning that developing a global workforce will often mean adjusting pre-existing management structures to meet the new way of working. Team leaders might need to oversee activities in real-time, for instance, so companies may need to hire talent in certain time zones or to train up employees to handle management roles in the country where they are based. 24-hour operations should not mean that managers stay up all night dealing with a never-ending stream of enquiries. Again, judicious use of workforce software systems to keep activities on schedule should enable 24-working around the globe, not hamper it.