While our world has shrunk a bit in the past few months due to COVID-19, the truth is that the global community has never been closer. New technologies are allowing us to connect in ways that were never before possible — and with the onset of this new coronavirus, expectations are that those technologies are going to grow and improve rapidly, out of necessity.
In addition to technology, the ability to cross borders to work is becoming easier, at least in some parts of the world. In the European Union, employees can live and work in different countries with relative ease. Furthermore, the number of expatriates living and working abroad has seen significant growth in the last decade: According to Finaccord, the number of expatriates worldwide is expected to hit 87.5 million by 2021.
As someone who loves travel and hopes to one day join the expat community, I found this “Around the Globe” issue of Workspan incredibly educational. For instance, getting a closer look at pay equity efforts around the world was fascinating. While I have a decent handle on pay equity in the United States, it was interesting to see how Europe, Canada and Australia are dealing with it. (See “Beyond Compliance: Spotting Global Trends Around Fair Pay.”)
Meanwhile, because of my personal obsession with all things Latin America, I was enthralled to learn about how rewards differ in this region. (See “Total Rewards in Latin America: Un Poco Loco!”) I was, however, a little upset to find out that certain words in Spanish can mean different things in different areas. Here’s hoping those Duolingo lessons aren’t for nothing!
And you better believe that I was immediately tuned into Iain McNicoll’s piece on freelancing around the world. (See “The Wide World of Freelancers: A Growing Choice for Workers Around the Globe.") As a former gig worker, I was pleased to see that the concept has taken root outside of the U.S. That could certainly work in my favor, some far-off day in the future. #goals
The world we live in today is not the same as the days of yore. Our interactions, both professionally and personally, are no longer confined to our own borders. I recently read a story about two young women who lived in different parts of India. Despite their geographic distance, technology allowed them to meet and develop a relationship that hit the “BFF” level. In the corporate world, more and more organizations are “going global,” allowing workers of all kinds to work together in a nearly seamless way.
It’s therefore paramount for all of us to develop a more global mindset. While paying attention to our differences is important — like when developing a global rewards strategy — we should also remember where we’re similar. For example, we all want to be recognized when we do a good job, but maybe we differ on how we’re recognized. (See “X Marks the Spot: The Search for Global Employee Engagement.”)
COVID-19 may have temporarily kept us within our own borders, but this too shall pass. And when it does, we must be prepared to “act local, think global.”
Stephanie N. Rotondo is managing editor of Workspan.