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Article

10 min read

How Digital Nomads Can Contribute To Enterprise Growth

Global mobility
Global expansion

Author

Jemima Owen-Jones

Published

August 24, 2023

Last Update

July 03, 2024

Table of Contents

What are the benefits of mobile workers?

How to build a mobile workforce

How to manage and support mobile workers

Grow your mobile workforce with Deel

Key takeaways
  1. Mobile workers can work from anywhere, allowing enterprises to hire and relocate the best talent, regardless of location. This approach can help enterprises expand into new markets, reach a wider customer base, and provide a 24/7 service in multiple languages.
  2. To build a mobile workforce, enterprises need to tap into mobile talent hubs and create a culture of remote work and location flexibility. Providing employees with the tools and resources to work remotely is essential, while adopting a “work-from-anywhere” policy has proven advantageous.
  3. Managing and supporting a mobile workforce requires an HR platform built for global teams. This platform should help enterprises with onboarding, compliance, communication, and collaboration. It should also automate as many administrative functions as possible to free up HR teams to focus on other priorities.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the rise of mobile workers is transforming the way enterprises operate and grow. 

Instead of opening new foreign offices, participating in international acquisitions, or franchising, enterprises realize that a far more cost-effective, timely, and low-risk way to expand their enterprises into new markets is to engage mobile workers who can conduct business operations remotely.   

According to a 2022 Gallup survey, 56% of full-time US employees have jobs that they do remotely. That amounts to 70 million workers who are or have the potential to perform their jobs from another location. 

This article explores the great potential of mobile workers, providing actionable insights into how enterprises can engage mobile workers and achieve rapid expansion.

What are the benefits of mobile workers?

Mobile workers offer many advantages that directly contribute to an enterprise’s growth. Their ability to work from anywhere leads to increased flexibility and agility, reduced overhead costs, and improved customer service through increased availability across time zones.
 
Here are a few of the ways mobile workers can help enterprise businesses grow: 

  • Better customer service: You’ll be able to cover more languages and time zones and cater to a broader customer base more efficiently
  • Complementary skills: If local talent doesn’t have the skill sets you need, you can find complementary skills in the global talent pool
  • Reduced hiring costs: You can cut your overall hiring and employment costs by sourcing talent from countries with a lower cost of living
  • First-hand insight into new markets: Working with talent worldwide lets you learn about foreign markets from first-hand experiences
  • Improved workplace culture: Diversity will encourage your team to accept and celebrate differences and build a sense of belonging within the organization
  • Access to fresh business perspectives: You have an opportunity to learn about different ways of doing business and enhance your strategy with new tactics

How to build a mobile workforce

Building a mobile workforce demands careful planning and tailored strategies to attract and retain top talent. By focusing on effective communication, clear expectations, and a supportive remote work environment, you can build a successful mobile team, contributing to your organization’s growth.

Attract mobile talent with remote working and location flexibility

Companies that hope to build a mobile workforce must first create a culture that embraces remote working and location flexibility. 

Adopting a “work-from-anywhere” (WFA) policy has proven to attract and retain mobile employees and contributed to the company’s expansion goals. A WFA policy allows employees to work from any location, providing that they have a reliable internet connection and meet the company’s performance expectations. 

Airbnb, the home-sharing company, has over 6,800 WFA employees. These workers can live and work in over 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location so as not to trigger permanent establishment and tax obligations with local authorities. The workers are also responsible for acquiring their own work and travel authorizations. 

Embracing the WFA model has provided savings for the company, whose office footprint is now less than half of what it was before. It has also enabled it to expand and diversify its talent pool hugely and contributed to employees’ work-life balance, job satisfaction, and overall employee experience. 

In an interview with NPR, Airbnb’s Chief Financial Officer, Dave Stephenson, and leader of Airbnb’s affinity group for black employees, Benny Etienne, discussed the benefits of the WFA initiative. 

They confirmed that the attrition rate is close to an all-time low and falling. The initiative is also helping with other expansion goals. For example, the company has recruited more underrepresented minorities and women over the past year, including into tech roles.

“Now that we’re in a live-anywhere context, it really gives us an opportunity to cater to different needs,” explained Etienne. 

“The best talent in the world is not all within a 50-mile radius of San Francisco,” Stephenson emphasized. 

“You know, we added 900,000 hosts last year. We have 6.6 million around the world, strong revenue growth…” Stephenson continued. 

See also: Improving Talent Acquisition and Employee Retention with Location Flexibility.

Locate mobile talent with a talent location strategy 

Building a mobile workforce requires a well-defined talent location strategy that will enable you to access the right talent in the right places at the right time. 

Enterprise organizations must conduct a comprehensive analysis of their talent requirements, business objectives, and growth plans. Then, identify potential target locations based on talent availability, market demand, and cost considerations. 

Specific regions, countries, and cities have become talent hubs for particular skills and industries. Latin America, for example, has a large and growing pool of highly educated and skilled workers, particularly in areas such as engineering, computer science, and finance. 

Many Latin Americans are also fluent in Spanish and English, which can be advantageous for companies looking to expand into the region or work with Latin American customers. The region also shares the same time zone as the US and Canada, making it easier for companies to establish operations and overlap with workers and clients in these countries. 

Discover the most popular regions to hire from and skills to hire for in 2022 from Deel’s State of Global Hiring report.

It’s time for businesses to look at the bigger picture when it comes to hiring. With billions of people on the planet, no business should have to struggle to find the right person for the job. It may be that your country’s talent pool isn’t as deep in your sector as it is in other geographies, which is where skills shortages may be playing a factor.

Matt Monette,

UK&I Country Lead

See also: A Guide to Finding Global Talent.

Hire mobile talent with an employer of record (EOR)

Once you’ve attracted and located top mobility talent, you must hire it compliantly. When hiring international employees in countries where the enterprise lacks a local entity, the most efficient and affordable option is to use an employer of record (EOR)

The EOR employs the worker on behalf of your company, ensures compliance according to the local laws and labor regulations, and runs global payroll and other HR and administrative tasks.

Today, Deel is the largest EOR provider globally, with over 20,000 active employees under our 95+ entities. Each of these 95+ entities is solely owned and managed by Deel—no outsourcing to 3rd party providers. 

Discover how EasyBroker, a US-based real estate portal, expanded globally, became 100% remote, and saved over 50% in fees and time with Deel.

Before working with Deel, we only hired in Mexico. Now, we open roles to any country in Latin America, and we have reduced the recruitment time by almost 50%. It also helped us offer more competitive salaries and better benefits.

Sandra Rodríguez León,

Operations and People Coordinator, EasyBroker

See also: Everything EOR: A Guide to Employer of Record.

Hire mobile contractors with Deel Shield 

Contractors make up a large portion of the mobile workforce. According to a study by Upwork, 35% of the global workforce is now made up of freelancers and independent contractors. This number is expected to grow to 50% by 2028.

Contractors are typically more flexible and mobile than employees by nature. They often work on a project-by-project basis and can choose when and where they work, leading many to embrace a more nomadic lifestyle, taking their work to different locations. 

Contractors give businesses more flexibility to adjust their workforce as needed. They are often less expensive than traditional employees since they do not require the same mandatory benefits annad overhead costs, and you don’t need a local entity to hire one in a country where you lack a local entity. 

However, when hiring independent contractors, creating thorough contractor agreements is essential, ensuring all documents are signed, and maintaining accurate invoicing records is essential. These admin tasks are often time-consuming and laborious but also necessary for the compliant running of a business.

When hiring international contractors, these tasks are further complicated, as different languages, payment methods and currencies, and compliance clauses are involved. The definition of an independent contractor also varies by country. A person might be considered a contractor in one country but an employee in another, exposing the client to misclassification risks and multiple financial and legal penalties. 

With Deel Shield, Enterprise businesses can access ready-to-use, tailored contracts that comply with local labor laws in 150+ countries. These airtight contracts and advanced compliance features help businesses confidently hire a contractor without risking misclassification and liability.

Deel’s all-in-one HR platform enables you to automate invoicing, manage global payments, track and manage expenses, and provide the ultimate contractor experience with advanced payments, personal spending cards, perks, and tax advice. 

Discover how software company, Project44, saves around $500,000 a year since switching to Deel and gets added peace of mind with Shield coverage.

Deel Shield gave us peace of mind when hiring people as contractors in any part of the world. I don’t have to worry anymore about compliance. It feels much safer.

Chloe Riesenberg,

People Specialist, Project44

Relocate mobile workers with visa and immigration support 

Mobile workers are frequently on the move —be it for personal or professional reasons. International moves require careful planning and preparation to ensure the worker obtains the necessary authorization and documentation to live and work in a particular country. 

Certain global HR platforms have built-in visa and immigration support to assist workers with acquiring the necessary legal documentation to move between countries and jurisdictions. Should your enterprise wish to hire or relocate an employee to a country where they do not have work authorization, you can check eligibility and request support directly on the global HR platform. 

Because Deel also has EOR capabilities, we can hire a new employee on your behalf and sponsor their visa application to accelerate the visa procurement process. This is an excellent solution if you prefer a hands-off approach to immigration or do not have an entity in the target location, which is often required for sponsorship.

Discover how B2B SaaS company Taktile sponsored 3 visas thanks to Deel.

The best solution was to find an employer of record to help us bring all of that amazing talent to the company without opening an entity in those countries,

Valeria Rosati,

HR Operations Lead, Taktile

See also: A Guide to EOR-Sponsored Visas for Enterprise Businesses

How to manage and support mobile workers

Effective mobile workforce management is imperative to the success of enterprise expansion. 

Management involves maintaining work contracts and documentation that complies with the different laws and regulations of other countries, upholding security when engaging workers using their own devices and networks, and maintaining effective communication, collaboration, and engagement with workers in different locations and time zones.

Utilizing an HR platform built for global teams is the most effective way of overseeing a mobile workforce, providing the functionality and tools to monitor compliance, engage remote teams, and keep administrative complexities at bay. We explore these features in more detail below: 

Streamlined onboarding

A global HR platform can automate the process of onboarding and enrolling remote workers into an enterprise’s digital workspace. HR teams can set up rules and triggers to automatically enroll new hires in the necessary systems, generate login credentials, and disseminate training materials. 

These platforms can also collect and centralize the data needed for onboarding, such as employee contact details, role responsibilities, and tax information. Having a single source of truth makes it easy for HR teams to access the necessary information and keep it secure and up-to-date. 

Finally, a global HR platform can automate enrollment in core HR functions such as mandatory employee benefits, payroll, attendance, and time off tracking. The advantage of a global HR platform vs. a local platform is that it allows for country-specific workflows with customs fields and requirements to support mobile workers in every country. 

Discover how Palm NFT Studio saves 80+ hours per month on HR admin from onboarding to PTO, payroll to compliance, and contract amendments with Deel.

I would say that just onboarding alone, I’d have to hire another person to handle that if it wasn’t for Deel, so it saves the company time and money.

Anita Smith,

Head of People, Palm NFT Studio

See also: A Guide to Onboarding an Asynchronous Worker [Tips and Checklist].

Access to tech and flexible workspaces 

Some global HR platforms integrate with equipment management software to enable businesses to provision and manage equipment for mobile workers dispersed globally. 

However, equipping deskless workers with the necessary mobile technology such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets involves:

  • Consideration of each individual’s technological needs

  • Awareness of country-specific regulatory requirements

  • Data and security measures

  • Logistical oversight 

Deel has partnered with equipment management software Hofy to enable enterprise organizations to provide mobile devices to a globally distributed team. Businesses can easily provision equipment while creating a new worker contract via the Deel platform. 
 
The self-serve portal allows team members to select the equipment they need from a pre-approved catalog and then track the status of their orders until they arrive at their chosen location. Businesses can also get real-time updates on the status of orders and delivery tracking and visibility into all the costs involved in supplying equipment internationally.

The software also considers the geographical nuances of different regions, such as customs, import regulations, and technological standards. It ensures that equipment options comply with local requirements, that team members experience timely and smooth receipt of equipment, and that their sensitive data is protected. 

Deel has also partnered with coworking space providers such as WeWork so that enterprise businesses can offer mobile workers the convenience of a flexible coworking space. This way, mobile workers always have access to a conducive working environment, even while moving from place to place. 

See also: Equipment Provisioning for Remote and Global Teams Policy Template.

Global compliance and security 

A global HR platform can aid in monitoring compliance for a mobile workforce where travel and relocations across jurisdictions occur frequently. These platforms can assist in upholding the highest data privacy and security standards and ensuring compliance with international labor laws that govern things like mandatory benefits (think healthcare insurance, paid time off, and pension contributions), minimum wages, terminations, payroll, and taxes. 

Below, we’ll discuss how the best global HR platforms uphold global compliance and security for a mobile workforce. 

Self-serve data entry: Instead of HR chasing around sensitive worker data and documentation such as banking information, passports, and tax forms on multiple spreadsheets and systems, new and existing workers receive emails and push notifications to input, update, and upload personal information directly on the self-serve platform, protected with data encryption, GDPR, and SOC2 compliance.

Contract workflows with country-specific caveats: Rather than researching different labor laws, using unreliable templates, or involving external legal teams, the intuitive platform guides you through each aspect of the contract, providing helpful insights and suggestions per country requirements. These contracts are vetted by local legal experts and updated quarterly to remain compliant.

Should a mobile worker relocate permanently to a new location, you can quickly update contracts and have workers sign new non-disclosure, intellectual property, and data protection agreements. 

Automated global payroll, compensation, and tax filing: Instead of manually fulfilling payroll obligations for each location or outsourcing payroll management to a local payroll provider, the global HR platform can automatically run payroll, contractor payments, and tax filing as soon as a worker is enrolled.

These platforms consider local currencies, exchange rates, country-specific benefits deductions and contributions, and time off. They also allow you to add bonuses and last-minute expenses and automate payslips and invoice distribution. Contractors can also benefit from multiple withdrawal and currency options. 

See also: HR Compliance: How Can Startups Use HR Automation Tools for Employees and Contractors?

Free communication, collaboration, and engagement tools and plugins 

Some global HR platforms connect effortlessly with additional HR tools designed to help a mobile workforce build a stronger culture, support internal communication, and improve remote employee engagement strategies. 

With Deel Engage, enterprises can manage time-off requests, 1-on-1s, candidate referrals, pulse surveys, employee recognition, and more, all from the convenience of Slack. HR teams can monitor adoption rates, streamline unnecessary HR admin, and track employee communication channels, burnout, and holiday allowances.

Discover how ThirstySprout streamlines PTO, increases referrals and automates onboarding without ever leaving Slack.

As most of our work gets done in Slack, the Slack integration and its ease of use are great. Teams don’t have to log out and go to the HRIS to type in their stuff now. They just Slack it, and all of a sudden, everything is documented and synced.

David Stepania,

Founder, ThirstySprout

Grow your mobile workforce with Deel

The future of enterprise expansion lies in the strategic utilization of mobile workers. Embracing these individuals as a pivotal part of your business strategy can enable you to penetrate new markets, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and achieve global success. 

Deel’s global HR platform with built-in global payroll, EOR, mobility, and immigration support offers a comprehensive solution to manage the complexities of a mobile workforce. It simplifies administrative tasks, ensures compliance, and empowers HR teams to manage a geographically dispersed workforce effectively while providing an enjoyable user experience.

Sound like the ideal solution? Book 30 minutes with a product expert to get your questions answered.

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