Remote work: Adapting to the ‘new normal’ with an Employer of Record in Africa

remote worker

The rapid shift to remote work is often attributed solely to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, remote work had begun to increase in the years pre-COVID-19, fuelled by an increasing drive toward wellbeing, balance of work and life and the adoption of enabling technology for remote connection. COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown acted as a catalyst to adopting remote work, initially as a temporary measure and subsequently to the new normal. Indeed the normalisation of remote work is seen by many to be a significant step forward toward the ‘future of work’. This ‘giant leap’ provides many organisations the opportunity to reimagine what work looks like, who will be doing it and where work will be done.

A promising trend worldwide

Remote work seems to be here to stay. Many industry thought leaders, such as Forbes, positions remote work as a certain in the future of work. In McKinsey’s recent Reimagine Work: Employee Survey, it was found that 52% of US employees would prefer a flexible working model after the pandemic is over.

Research typically focuses on the Western population’s opinions on remote work, with very few studies focusing on less developed nations’ experience of remote work. For instance, African countries are infamous for poor technology infrastructure, however, the changes to the world of work in recent years have led to increased investment in digital technology. This has meant that African people have had the opportunity to develop the required digital skills to navigate the remote world of work. Gaining the skills to join the global workforce offers an opportunity for some 1.37 billion people in Africa to find remote work. Africa is increasingly playing a role in the remote workforce, which has been made clear in the World Economic Forum’s research indicating that 42% of African employees work remotely at least once a week.

Individual and Organisational benefits of employing a remote workforce

Should leaders be very deliberate around the culture created in remote teams, there are numerous benefits to both the individual employee and organisation.

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employee benefit

How to set your remote employees up for success?

There are multiple benefits to remote working. However, the return on these investments is very much dependent on how remote teams interact and the subsequent culture and ways of work adopted by an organisation. Due to the challenges associated with establishing a remote team, particularly if members are in Africa, many leaders find themselves focusing on administrative tasks. For leaders to be successful in setting up an effective remote team, they need to be focused on what matters, and may benefit from partnering with an expert in setting up global teams for success.

Consider these few areas that AHR, as an Employer of Record, could assist leaders with, as they establish their international remote teams:

  1. Ensuring compliant expansion

When considering international expansion, there are many crucial considerations, including  data protection, visa requirements and tax and legal legislation. Organisations benefit greatly from having a trusted partner and advisor when making strategic decisions regarding expansion into Africa and the engaging of a remote team.

2. Managing work permits and visas for non-citizens

International mobility is increasingly becoming a perk that talent seeks when considering a new employer. Organisations can offer their employees the opportunity for secondments or short-term working stints in a country of interest, without the additional hassle of arranging work visas. AHR assist the employee in their application and manages the visa requirements and documentation.

3. Onboarding and offboarding

Different African countries are likely to have nuanced labour law that impacts the terms and conditions in employment contracts. Rather than needing to be an expert in labour law, AHR can assist in ensuring that legal contracts are aligned to the relevant labour legislation and protect both the employee and you as the client.

4. Handling the back-office

Granting leave days while maintaining a productive roster, and managing all payroll-related tasks, is within the purview of the expert team of your EOR. Let them handle these time and energy-consuming tasks while you focus on growing your business.

5. Devising policies that place you as an employer of choice

In a highly competitive job market, it is important to build a reputation as an employer of choice, so to be attractive to top talent. One key driver of an organisation’s reputation is their ethical and fair treatment of their employees and customers. A partnership with an EOR is an asset in ensuring fair practices in the country of choice and maintenance of a positive reputation as an employer of choice.

6. Additional layer of support to employees

Employees who form part of a global team may have questions and concerns regarding their contracts, tax, legislation, and best practice. AHR can assist in answering and resolving any questions or issues an employee may have. This ensures the employee is reassured and can focus on adding business value.

As a renowned Employer of Record, Africa HR solutions gives our clients access to a pool of experts in various fields, from Human Resources to Tax and Employment Law in 46 countries. By offering these services, we provide our clients with a solid foundation to expand their horizons, evolve, and create better remote working practices, one African country at a time.

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