Pros and Cons of Working a Remote Job Internationally

In an unprecedented year shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies, workers, and contract workers around the globe are embracing remote work at breakneck speed, often out of necessity. 

While many of those businesses and individuals might have begun working remotely only in an effort to adapt to a rapidly changing world, there are huge benefits to working remotely, especially if you’re doing so internationally. However, along with all of the positive aspects, workers and businesses need to also take into account the negatives that can come along with remote work.

The Good

For workers, remote work offers a great deal of flexibility not only with just their work schedule and location but with their personal lives as well. When surveyed, workers consistently ranked the ability to set their own schedule to some extent highly alongside the option to work either inside or outside of their home. Working from home, whether in the US or internationally, allows workers the chance to better balance the stresses life throws their way and to make more time to strengthen their social bonds or spend time with family.

With the world interconnected now more than ever, many workers are no longer tied to a single geographical location when it comes to their ability to complete work. Now, many workers can enjoy their lives overseas while still working for a company in their home country, giving many the chance to fulfill lifelong personal goals while simultaneously advancing their careers. In fact, working abroad for a company can teach workers invaluable skills and an inherent knowledge of differences in global markets which can potentially help lead to advancement opportunities within their company.

Companies can also benefit from moving much of their operation to remote work in more ways than simply saving money by largely eliminating the need for brick-and-mortar office space. When hiring remote workers, the talent pool from which companies can choose grows to a global scale. 

By hiring remote workers at every level, a company has the opportunity to get the best individual for any job regardless of their proximity to where the company is located. Additionally, this gives companies the ability to send their best workers overseas to work with international partners more closely without causing too much disruption to their ability to work as normal.

There is a great reason why virtual offices have been gaining traction globally. Workers from around the world can interact with each other in a virtual office environment and provide each other with different perspectives and solutions, improving their productivity and helping their company along the way. 

As the business world continues to become more interconnected through technology, the political and geographical lines separating businesses and workers will continue to blur, opening the door to a new world of possibility.

The Bad

While the benefits of working remotely while living abroad or at home are a serious boon to many workers, there are some downsides to remote work — especially international remote work — that should be considered.  

For instance, while workers might enjoy working overseas, they might be limited by the type of visa issued to them. While a handful of countries allow for business to be conducted on a tourist visa, it is important that both workers and employers know and follow all local, national, and international laws to avoid any issues regarding work eligibility.

Furthermore, workers might find themselves faced with serious culture shock when arriving at work in a new country. Not only will local customs and behaviors likely be much different than in their home country, but even simple things like obtaining and using credit cards overseas can be wildly different depending on where a worker ends up. In countries like South Korea where the bulk of transactions occur over credit and debit cards, those who find themselves working remote jobs after relocating from a different country will have to adjust to a nearly cashless life.

Remote work can already seem a bit lonely as workers don’t have the same chance to build a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers as those working in a traditional office setting. For those working internationally, this problem is compounded even further. Many of their coworkers will be operating in a different time zone, making communication slightly difficult. Furthermore, if the worker doesn’t have a conversational grasp of their new country’s tongue, this inability to adequately communicate in conjunction with the inherent isolation of remote work can take a serious toll on their mental health. 

Though there are methods workers can use to combat the loneliness and depression that might stem from their international remote working situation, everyone considering either working remotely or hiring remote workers should keep the potential mental health effects in mind. It’s important to have a plan in place to help mitigate the harm that remote working can potentially cause.

The world is slowly marching towards a future in which remote work anywhere in the world is the new norm. Even if workers and companies are reticent to jump feet-first into the world of remote work, they should both do their due diligence in researching and understanding the pros and cons that come with international remote work to prepare for the future.


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