The International Working from Home (WFH) job Market Good or Bad?
Living the dream, back in the late 1990’s I was working for a US investment bank where there was one guy in a pub accessing some bank UNIX system using some kind of Psion – guessing here, a brick-like device with a small screen. At the time probably the only guy in London WFH, albeit from a pub. Roll on the decades, the dream of WFH from a boat in the Mediterranean or a chateau in France, but what is the reality? The question we aim to solve today. Would you accept a job that is run out of a different time zone?
International Working from Home (WFH) challenges no one talks about
If you are looking for job opportunities that are 100% remote then indeed the old adage, the world is literally your oyster could ring true. But, just how realistic is going after jobs in the global job market?
Freelancers who tend to work independently for the main and deliver a product at the end of the assignment, such as written code, artwork, journalistic writing have for a long time been able to sell their services far and wide. There are many services such as FIVERR and UPMARKET that are designed to push this type of working from home market.
However, traditional jobs, old school jobs, or any job that has a start and end time where the customer or team are located outside of your Time Zone is where the challenge could be.
The WFH Time Zone challenge working in the global Job Market
Putting aside language barriers, the time zone really is the key consideration, pull up a world atlas map, add a marker where you are, and start plotting where your team and customers are located. What time would you be expected to dial in from meetings, the start and end times in the local zone, and your time? We take a look at these
Working opportunities within Europe is a no-brainer, there is a 1-hour difference from the top of Scotland over to the Russian Border, right up to the top of Norway down to Gibraltar. Putting Brexit changes aside that is a large continental landmass and market that would pose little in the way of inconvenience
Benefits, 1 hour extra sleep, cons 1 hour extra in your working at home office in the evening. Overal that is not too much of an impact to your work life balance
United States and Canada
3-hour time zone difference from east to west. A New Yorker working for a Californian technology company may have to sit through meetings at 7 pm at night with 11 am starts. Working East to West works out ok, working West to East just be prepared for 6 am starts
Benefits, a long morning, great for families, walking the kids to school, gym in the morning, and enjoying the morning sun. Cons. The evenings will start to drag on, but not so much that you miss out on life. If you work for a company that tends to fire-fight problems half the time, those evenings may just drag on and on.
Cross Continental working – USA – UK – Singapore
Investment banking used to be set up across the time zones of Asia Pacific, Europe, and the US with London being the central time zone. Working to the time zones on the edges of your locality is where your body clock will need to be reset. This will see you wake up at midnight in London for a Singapore Start, with an end time in the early afternoon. Working New York time from London will see a 5-hour shift of your life
Pros: Cross continental working is more of a lifestyle choice. Perhaps you do not like shopping when it’s busy, and you are better at concentrating at night. There are some folks who would suit nocturnal living. Cons: There will be certain times of the day that will really burn, US workers working Chinese time report 8pm as the burn hour. Working across Continental time is a lifestyle choice. This requires a rethink of when you sleep and how you sleep. Black out curtains and consider who you are living with as your lifestyle change needs to be compatible with theirs.
Global Firms and the culture change for a global workforce
If globalisation started to get going towards the end of the 20th century, working from home may emerge as the next big thing in the 21st-century job market. With the change, company culture will also need to adapt to offer the workforce, wherever they may be, an opportunity for an agreeable work-life balance.
Holding meetings that are time-zone friendly, is one way companies could make adaptations to enable those working on the dark edges of the time zone to be engaged.
Concluding thoughts on working outside of your time zone
When working in Singapore, I remember many meetings where I was dialled into the London meeting, sitting at home with the tropical heating coming through the windows, the dinner was on slow cook and the lights low. I heard in the voices of the London team edgy tones of seriousness, in the hustle and bustle of the central London office. Work-life balance was great, i was working Singapore time, with a good portion of the day crossed over with colleagues in Europe. This is possibly the ideal scenario.
The workforce is made up of individuals, what is one person’s dread is another person’s treasure. I knew someone who had terrible anxiety issues with crowds, to the point they became excluded from the transport system, shopping on a weekend. They found solace working for a US technology company working the graveyard shift, the inner sanctuary of peace.
This is where this post is driving too. Job opportunities do exist the world over, but it has to be right for you the individual, your personal circumstances. Folks who have a rich social life, clubs they go to, family commitments would find it incredibly difficult to be having meetings deep into the night.
The other sacrifices of missing your own lunchtimes to match meetings, emergency issues at work that require local hires to stay behind 1-2 hours late in the office impact you with a further hit to your life. Are you expected to answer your company boss our of hours must also be taken into consideration?
Good luck be great to hear your views in the comments or to get in touch