The internet has allowed many to live, work and create communities online - health care, pension and other benefits should be a part of that global, software-based world.
How do we fill in the gaps of the traditional health care system that remote workers and nomads are experiencing?
By re-inventing structures in place and creating something new, functioning across borders, and available to everyone.
The Rapid Rise of Remote Work
The recent pandemic has dramatically accelerated the rise of remote work and forced companies worldwide to re-examine the way they want to work in the future. What started off as a short-term work from home set-up resulted in some of the biggest companies around the world – such as Spotify, Twitter, and Facebook – switching to remote indefinitely. Traditional companies are not only getting used to working from home, they are turning it into a new normal.
Newly remote companies immediately hit the realization that their hiring is no longer constrained to any geographical area. They can hire the best people, not just the closest. While companies around the world are learning how to navigate new working arrangements and systems, remote first companies are already tackling the next issue: there are no global structures in place to support this rapidly growing workforce.
“The leadership is quick to think: “We are just moving from an office to the home office, everything should stay the same” and that couldn’t be a bigger fallacy.”
- Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLiab in “How to transition to remote”
As shown in PwC’s survey, simply going back to the office might not be an option considering 83% of employers and 71% of employees surveyed stated remote work has been a success.
More people will realize the benefits of working remotely once we’re out of the survival-mode way of operating that the pandemic has forced us into. As experienced remote workers keep insisting, remote work and lockdown work are not the same things. The number of remote workers will continue to rise, and even the companies that plan on going back to the standard office setting after the pandemic are likely to implement a hybrid form of remote work.
The takeaway? Remote work is not a passing trend, but a foundational pillar of the future of work.
Building new structures online
Although the benefits of working remotely are vast, there are certain challenges that come with hiring and growing a remote team. There is a growing number of founders building software that will be crucial for remote teams worldwide:
The improvements made to the way we operate remotely in the past few years have been astounding. The option to work from home is not a special perk anymore. More employees are realizing the lifestyle improvements remote brings. More companies finally recognize their teams are more productive and show better results when allowed to structure their own work day. Allowing your team to work from anywhere is no longer a luxury, it’s the standard. It cuts down on unnecessary commutes, allowing more time to spend with family and friends. Office politics begin to fall by the wayside. And since you don’t have an office to go to, you’re free to choose where you are based. Why not move to a different city or a country? Why not travel?
These are no longer future predictions - it’s already happening in real-time. There are companies and cities that already jumped on board with trying to incentivise new remote workers to move away from metropolitan cities they were previously tied to for work.
As more employees gain location independence, essential services such as healthcare, pension, and income protection will have to be available worldwide. This borderless remote workforce places greater pressure on businesses to develop and implement effective and forward-thinking benefit strategies for their distributed teams.
Creating solutions for the remote workforce
The pandemic highlighted the biggest weaknesses in communities worldwide, especially the remote community. The lack of a global health insurance solution for remote teams was the main struggle. Remote workers have historically relied on emergency travel insurance or simply gone without coverage. But now, healthcare has become an ever more important recruiting factor in today’s climate, and a big hurdle to overcome for location independent people.
Last year, a Norwegian remote company SafetyWing was preparing to launch exactly that: a global health insurance product for remote companies. Once the pandemic struck, they hurried to make the product available sooner in order to elevate this issue that they were experiencing as a fully remote team, along with the entire community of remote workers and companies. They launched Remote Health – a solution built specifically to fill the healthcare gap for a global remote workforce. Their team is on a mission to support remote workers and remote companies around the world by building an adaptable software-based safety net for everyone – regardless of their location. The founders, originally from Norway, are building a global social safety net to make sure every team member is protected. That includes the ones residing in the US, their engineers in Finland and Bosnia, their full-stack developer currently sailing the world on a sailboat, and some who stay actively nomadic. Starting from the needs of their own team, they tailored this flexible and customizable package designed to protect individuals across the globe, whether they have a full-time salary or part-time contract.
Expanding Borderless Healthcare Options
Global health insurance is just the start. SafetyWing urges founders and remote companies worldwide to fill in the gaps that the remote workforce is experiencing. There needs to be an active discussion and understanding of what remote workers are and what they need from locations they choose to work from.
As the next addition to their global social safety net, they will soon be launching the Remote Doctor - a service that allows you to talk to a doctor in your own language, no matter where you are in the world. This product, in combination with Snapmed, will be a huge benefit for the remote community.
Global benefits - helping secure the future of remote
Remote employers are expected to become more competitive in offering different benefits to their staff on a global scale in the future. As businesses move away from the limitations of traditional working norms, new ideas and processes are being cultivated to tackle these rapid changes. Forward-thinking solutions help ensure that employers can effectively accommodate an evolving remote workforce, and that remote employees in all corners of the globe can receive the protection and security that on-site employees get to enjoy.
The remote workforce is on the rise, and we need to make sure that the world of remote offers equal opportunities to everyone, no matter where they are in the world.
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