How can employers support the wellbeing and productivity of global teams?

14 September 2023

Hybrid working is a widely accepted working model for many office workers. The large-scale adoption of this way of working post-pandemic formed a real step-change for many organisations that previously operated a more traditional workplace-based model. In addition to this, some businesses have had to offer cross-border working to retain talent. 

The importance of a hybrid-working option, including cross-border working, has been highlighted in recent research including from Office of Tax Simplification which found:

  • Hybrid is popular not just with workers, but employers alike - especially for organisations that are under pressure to retain/find the best talent. RSM’s own research found that 41% of businesses offered hybrid working options to attract and retain employees in today’s modern workplace.
  • Interestingly, around 70% of employees say they would be less likely to take a job if they did not have the option to work remotely.
  • It has become more commonplace for workers to request working from another country, with most businesses surveyed reporting cases of cross-border working taking place. This has led to the development of new policies to support these new circumstances. As well as ensuring the right policies and procedures are in place to support hybrid, managing remote teams and individual performance remains high on the agenda. With less face-to-face time and managers working remotely from their teams, specific skills are required so that people feel connected and motivated to perform to high standards.

The adoption of technology is integral and the use of Zoom/Teams calls to create face-to-face time and get messaging across is now normal. These are helpful, but remote working also needs good people management for business and people to thrive.

It is therefore great news that 90% of businesses have either already upskilled their managers to manage remotely, or plan to do so in the coming year.

Hybrid working and people management remain a key focus for organisations, so how can both be handled effectively in relation to each other?

A clear, structured and effective performance management framework is key to creating and maintaining high performing teams, whether office based, hybrid or fully remote. 

Performance management

Managers now have less face-to-face time with their hybrid and global remote teams.  While performance must be managed in the same way as at the office, there are additional challenges. However, these can be overcome through effective performance management. We cover the top 10 tips for people management in our article ‘RSM’s survey shows that managing performance is a continuing challenge for hybrid working’. It’s an honest, open series of discussions regarding progress towards meeting and exceeding role requirements, reaching specific targets, and fully understanding what ‘good’ looks like. 

Like managers, remote or hybrid workers may require upskilling to carry out their roles efficiently. It is essential that managers feel able to have performance related conversations, are competent in delivering those messages, and have the skills needed to effectively coach, manage and motivate their teams on an ongoing basis, whether in the office or remotely.

How can employers manage employee wellbeing?

There is an active interest in employee wellbeing and a growing understanding that looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Without the ability to see it, talking about it can be essential.

As the feelings of wellbeing are fundamental to the overall health of an individual, it’s become essential for businesses to understand more. Statistics are proving the impact of mental health - for example, someone is made ill by stress at work every two minutes (TUC)

It’s crucial to understand the issues surrounding mental ill health, and the risk factors, before taking steps to deal with it. There are a range of issues causing anxiety, stress and depression. However, it can also be a result of a challenging and pressurised working lifestyle. For instance, long hours, extensive travelling and demanding workloads. For remote workers, there may be pressure to continue working outside normal ‘office hours’ or during other time zones to be seen to be working as hard as those employees based in the office.

There is also a strong business case for managing mental health. In failing to manage an employee’s mental health, organisational problems such as high sickness absence, low employee morale and reduced productivity can occur.

How can employers offer support?

Mental health is complex and should not be approached with ‘quick fix’ solutions; any discussion with this intention may further negatively impact an employee’s wellbeing. In our article ‘Mental health awareness’ we have listed ways to provide  support as an employer, with approach and tone being key.

With the financial crisis looking to continue and a potentially difficult winter ahead in the northern hemisphere, providing routes to support and training mental health first aiders are positive first steps.


It’s clear that flexibility and remote working are commonplace and desirable for employers and employees alike and could become a key driver in helping businesses to attract and retain more talent than ever before. As such, it’s also important to recognise that employers have an increased duty of care to manage employee wellbeing, across both office and remote-based workers, wherever they are in the world.

It is up to companies to adapt and adopt new policies, procedures, technologies and behaviours in order to support this shift in working practices.

For a discussion on how you can support your remote workers and the general wellbeing of your teams, please contact Kerri Constable or Joanne Webber.