Paying remote workforce
Global Workforce

Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind: Paying a Remote Global Workforce

Remote-first policies offer international companies advantages in recruitment, but it's not without its challenges. First among them is cross-border workforce payments

Key takeaways:

  1. According to experts, remote working is set to undergo a ‘Nike swoosh,’ with an initial post-pandemic drop, followed by its current stabilization and a future long-run surge.
  2. A recent report highlights the benefits of remote-first policies in recruiting workers: fully flexible or structured hybrid companies added headcount at more than twice the rate of full-time in-office firms.
  3. For global enterprises, a remote-first policy offers another crucial advantage in recruitment: access to a much wider talent pool.
  4. Papaya Global's unique paytech helps international companies overcome the challenges of paying a remote workforce with proprietary technology and bank-level security.

In the summer of 2023, when Zoom imposed a return-to-office mandate on its employees, it was seen as the end of the remote work era. While tech giants such as Google, Meta, and Amazon had issued similar mandates earlier, Zoom’s decision seemed symbolic of the trend’s demise: if the company that enabled the remote work revolution is cracking down on office attendance, reports claimed, working from home (WFH) will soon be a thing of the past.

Yet, according to Nicholas Bloom, Professor of Economics at Stanford, the reports of WFH’s death are greatly exaggerated. Bloom co-founded the Working From Home Research Project, which has tracked remote work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fall of 2023, per the research, 42% of employees in the U.S. were fully remote or worked in a hybrid arrangement. By the end of the year, about 29% of paid days were work-from-home days.

“Remote working is set to undergo a Nike swoosh,” wrote Bloom, “with an initial post-pandemic drop, followed by its current stabilization and a future long-run surge.” The surge will be led by companies like Yelp – which went fully remote in 2022, closing offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago – and other firms implementing a “remote-first” policy, including Dropbox, Pinterest, Adobe, SAP, State Farm, and Verizon.

These firms cite employee satisfaction as the main reason for doubling down on remote-first policies. “In surveying our employees, 86% of respondents said they’d prefer to work remotely most or all of the time,” explained Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s CEO. “Over time, we came to realize that the future of work at Yelp is remote. It’s best for our employees and for our business.”

Every head counts

Remote work doesn’t only drive employee satisfaction; it also boosts recruitment. Data science company Scoop Technologies recently published a report that highlights the advantages of remote-first policies in recruiting workers. The numbers, based on an analysis of office requirements from more than 3,600 companies and headcount growth from People Data Labs, are telling:

  • Between June 2022 and May 2023, fully remote companies saw their headcount grow by 5.6%.
  • Companies offering a structured hybrid arrangement increased their headcount between 3.8% (4 days per week in the office) and 4.8% (1 day per week in the office).
  • Companies that require workers to be on-site five days a week grew their headcount by 2.6%.

For large enterprises, a remote-first policy offers another crucial advantage in recruitment: access to a much wider talent pool. “Our workforce was previously concentrated in the areas where we have offices, and now we have employees spread across every state in the U.S. and four countries,” said Yelp’s Jeremy Stoppelman. “We also hired two remote C-level executives in geographies with no Yelp offices.”

Hiring in new geographies is a great way to ensure you find the right person for the job, but it’s not without its challenges. First among them is paying workers – employees, EoR workers, and independent contractors – across borders. The reason is simple: most global payment service providers (PSPs) use traditional rails. These rails were not designed for workforce payments, often resulting in late, inaccurate, and costly transactions.

Dedicated to the cause

Papaya Global, the only fintech designed for global workforce payments, decided to go a different route. Relying on partnerships with tier-1 banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase and Citi, Papaya established the first workforce-dedicated rails and developed a proprietary technology: the Workforce Wallet. Using the Workforce Wallet accelerates the payment process by 80% and offers a 95% same-day delivery.

The technology’s speed doesn’t come at the expense of accuracy. On Papaya’s rails, all fees are known in advance. This allows us to guarantee full value transfer, meaning your workers receive every cent they are entitled to. Plus, our AI-powered transfer processing algorithm accounts for exchange rate fluctuations as late as possible in the payment process, reducing currency conversion costs to a minimum.

As a regulated financial services company, Papaya also provides maximum security. Customers’ funds are kept in segregated client money accounts (CMAs) at J.P. Morgan Chase and transmitted with money transfer licenses in all the major markets. Money transfer licenses are issued by local governments, which means Papaya’s handling of client funds is subject to strict regulation.

From Papaya’s earliest days, complying with regulations has been our top priority. We perform Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) processes for each new client and worker being paid via our platform – and run rigorous screenings for every payment, every cycle, to keep clients’ funds and employees’ data safe. If the future of work is remote and global, that’s precisely what large enterprises need to pay workers.