The world of work has changed significantly over the last few years, with the rise of remote work providing a growing number of opportunities for professionals to apply their skills on a global scale.
Now that the average professional has become comfortable working from anywhere, more people than ever before are considering looking for overseas positions.
But what about a remote overseas position? A role for a company abroad that you could fill without leaving your home office? It might sound odd, but there’s a lot to be said for such an arrangement.
It doesn’t require relocation, making it convenient, yet it offers chances to see (and work in) a new place: after all, you could spend some time in the office.
It’s easy to view such positions as offering the best of both worlds. But is securing a position with an overseas business the right path for you?
In this post, we’ll cover five essential factors to consider before applying for a remote role overseas. These factors will help you figure out how you want to proceed, so let’s get started.
Time zone differences
If you start working for a business based in another country, that country might be in a different time zone — and while the difference could be minimal, it could also be significant, with some regions being offset by 12 hours.
Taking an overseas role, then, could have a significant impact on your work schedule and your ability to collaborate effectively with your colleagues.
Before submitting an application, then, make sure you’re comfortable with any adjustments you’ll need to make to your daily routine.
Closely consider the company's expectations regarding working hours and whether they offer any flexibility, and ask about the potential need for you to attend meetings and calls outside your regular working hours.
More and more companies are embracing asynchronous work, allowing employees to submit their work and contribute to meetings without needing to be there at specific times, so this may not end up being much of an issue — but you need to know before you proceed, lest you end up exhausting yourself trying to adhere to an intolerable schedule.
Legal and tax implications
Each country has its own set of regulations regarding employment and taxation, and it’s crucial to understand how these rules will affect you as a remote worker.
This includes understanding your status as a contractor or employee as well as any tax obligations you may have in both your home country and the country where your employer is based.
If you’re a freelancer or a full-time consultant who’d rather remain self-employed, this can cause you a great deal of consternation.
Otherwise, you should have mostly everything handled by your new employer (they should be able to give you some advice too), though it’s best to do your own research just in case. There’s no shortage of resources around.
Note: if your prospective employer is new to hiring overseas, they may be just as confused as you are. If you really believe in the business, be ready to help out by sharing advice pertaining to your native country.
If you’re based in the UK, for instance, you can point a prospective hirer to Remote's guide to hiring in the UK to help them figure out the details. What really matters is that you reach a suitable outcome, so don’t be reluctant to contribute.
Though it will depend on the company and the role on offer, you’ll almost certainly need certain things to proceed: a high-speed internet connection, a reliable desktop or laptop, and access to the software and platforms the company uses.
The internet connection is up to you, naturally, but you’ll need a company computer — so you’ll need the company to have a way of getting a properly-configured machine to you. If you’re asked to buy one for the role, that’s a red flag.
And even if you’re promised a suitable machine, what about your home office setup? It’s become standard for companies to compensate employees for the purchases they need to make to work comfortably.
Your desk, your mouse, your display… Don’t be blinded by the convenience and allure of working for an overseas business. If you accept less than you should be owed in the beginning, you’ll end up being taken advantage of.
Company culture, values, and norms
When you work for an overseas company, even if you’re operating remotely, you’ll inevitably be exposed to different cultural norms, communication styles and expectations.
You may not notice them initially, but you’ll spot them sooner or later. Maybe you were raised to be quite laconic, yet your new team is extremely passionate and overt about it.
Because culture clashes can damage or even ruin relationships (be they professional or personal), you should familiarize yourself with the culture of a prospective employer before you move ahead with your application.
Research the company's values, mission, and management style, and read employee reviews online to get a sense of what it’s like to work there.
Additionally, consider how your work style and communication preferences will fit the role. Will people expect you to be extremely proactive?
Will they be fine with you speaking your native tongue, or will they expect you to adopt their chosen lingua franca? These things are hugely important, so don’t take them lightly.
Career advancement implications
Finally, consider the impact that working remotely for an overseas company will have on your career development and professional growth.
While remote work can offer unparalleled flexibility and the opportunity to work with diverse teams from around the world, it can also present challenges when it comes to networking, collaboration, and career advancement.
Think about the benefits of working in an office, or at least with people based in your area. You get to know people who may need your help down the line: in other words, people who could give you better job opportunities when you’re feeling stagnant. You also get to enjoy solid personal recommendations through lines of acquaintance.
Can someone halfway across the world prove valuable for professional networking?
Absolutely, particularly these days — but there’s still something additionally compelling about in-person relationships relative to Zoom calls.
And when you work in your area, you’re more likely to encounter commonalities that make it easier to network. Trying to network internationally is complicated.
In conclusion, while working remotely for an overseas company may sound easy and exciting, there are things to keep in mind before you apply to such a position.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be enthusiastic about taking an opportunity like that: indeed, it may be exactly the right move for you.
Just take your time to make sure before you proceed, and you’ll end up in a better position for it.