Frequently Asked Questions
Why You Need International Teams
The world has become a smaller place. People work from anywhere. Connectivity is cheap, and English is pervasive. Improvements in technology and collaboration platforms have dramatically improved the effectiveness of distributed teams. Companies can do incredible things by working globally, but those that stay beholden to physical proximity will miss these opportunities and fall behind their competitors. It is not difficult to build the capabilities to work globally, and the time to start is now.
Expanding globally gives your company access to exceptional individuals and new pools of talent. Overcome the limits of commuting, cost of living, immigration policies, and more to find your new colleagues.
By spreading work across multiple time zones, companies can reduce turn-around times and make sure that things are getting done even when certain teams are not working. Considering that local-only companies waste as much as 75% of the day, using more of it can have a huge impact on efficiency.
Companies can realize material savings by locating work in where it can be done effectively at market rates that are relatively lower. Lower rates do not mean lower quality, nor does it mean paying below-market wages. But the cost of living differs around the world and companies that provide opportunities in those places free up resources to invest in other parts of the business.
Quality of Life
Adding international support teams relieves the pressure on your local staff. They can focus on higher-yield activities, but also can enjoy their personal time knowing that work is continuing in their absence. Although difficult to quantify, providing support and a safety net to your local team makes a noticeable difference in their work-life balance and workplace engagement.
Relay builds first-class offices in cities around the world, outfitted with technology, amenities, and art. We set up local legal entities that act as the employer of record, and help recruit team members. Relay handles all the administrative and compliance aspects of having an employee, while the Customer directs the actual work performed. As part of the Staff Hosting service, Relay also provides company culture, employee engagement activities, and coaching and support to help keep remote resources happy and productive.
Enterprise & Transition
When a Relay Customer is ready to transition to its own overseas infrastructure, we help set up legal, financial, and administrative capabilities, as well as locating and delivering a first-class office. Over time, Relay provides valuable quality control and monitoring services to help remote staff and operations stay on track.
Best Practices & Consulting
Relay helps with any aspect of overseas operations to make sure things run smoothly. Drawing on years of experience and libraries of material, we can provide targeted support, training, and strategic or tactical assistance to overcome any challenges.
How Relay Compares To…
In an outsourcing model, the service provided is finished work. The outsourcing company manages a team and is responsible for selecting, training, directing, and monitoring its work; the customer typically has little interaction, instead of going through an account manager. This “finished work as a service” model can sound great, but in practice seldom works beyond very basic, routine functions. Relay’s Staff Hosting service puts the customer in direct contact with its remote team, with the remote workers becoming part of the customer’s team and culture. Relay hosts the staff and handles facilities and administrative functions, but the customer works directly with its team.
Freelancers are easy to find and provide a direct connection to a customer, but the model is highly unstructured, risky, and difficult to scale. From lack of oversight to cybersecurity to legal compliance, adding more than a few freelancers to an organization poses a long list of challenges. Moreover, individual freelancers – often working from home or coffee shops – feel unconnected to a team or company culture, and are more likely to entertain competing offers. (Sometimes they just perform multiple full-time jobs concurrently!) Relay provides a healthy office culture and promotes involvement and interaction, helping people feel a sense of connection at work. Our facilities also provide things like redundant internet, backup power, access control, physical security, and cyber security systems and procedures.
A PEO, or Professional Employment Organization, handles certain administrative aspects of employing someone. They are the employer of record, and handle compliance with labor laws, benefits and administration, and tax payments. This limited service covers a necessary portion of what an employer does, but leaves a tremendous amount out. Relay’s Staff Hosting service all that, plus much more (like facilities, coaching, assessments, office culture, and more) to provide a much more complete set of services.
Doing It Yourself
Setting up your own overseas operation requires forming a legal entity, renting and equipping an office, and establishing a local bank account and many other one-time tasks… and that’s just the beginning. Recruiting and managing staff, dealing with local compliance, labor laws, holidays, benefits, and the many requirements of operating effectively require significant resources. Relay spreads all this work across multiple clients, making it much easier to begin and maintain your international journey. Also, Relay allows you to have teams in multiple locations, taking advantage of multiple time zones, skills, and talent pools.
What Makes Relay Work
Relay Handles the Logistics
Relay takes care of all the operational and administrative aspects of an international operation, like registering a legal entity, leasing and furnishing an office, recruiting talent, and managing payroll, compliance, and office culture. You get to focus on working directly with your new team members.
One Monthly Bill from a US Company
Your Relay team may be all over the world, but you get one monthly bill from our headquarters in Texas. That means no exposure to international banking, currency exchange, or other compliance issues associated with international trade.
Work from Office
While work no longer technically requires being in a specific space, we have found that working from just anywhere is not as good as working from an office. People need community, connections, and positive interactions with others in an upscale environment. Our need for socialization, not to mention some separation between work and home, make an office an important part of Relay’s success.
An office is more than just a place to work – it is a community where people come to connect, form relationships, learn, and create lasting connections. Relay supports this with activities and events, cultural celebrations, awards, food, art, and other activators that have a real impact on employee experience and retention.
Immediately Available Resources
Relay hires in advance for many positions, so customers can choose available resources that are ready to be onboarded immediately. While they are “on the bench,” resources are busy with training, career development, and trying out various roles. Bench resources also are pre-vetted for various jobs, so customers know in advance what roles they are ready to fill.
Relay Learning develops and curated important training for international employees to help them integrate effectively with their new companies. Topics include language, business communications, workplace culture, and more. We also provide targeted skills training on specific jobs and business functions. Relay Learning also works with your local team to help them get ready to integrate overseas colleagues into existing workflows.
Relay is a technology-enabled company, using communications and other systems to make sure everything is running smoothly. Our unified communications, task management, and employee tracking system, along with a proprietary learning management system, cover most aspects of employee experience. We also deploy things like redundant internet connections, endpoint detection, and backup power and battery systems (depending on location) to promote smooth operations. Enhancements like US IP phone numbers and AI transcription services are also available.
Relay relies on both pre- and post-employment assessments to help find the best candidates, match individuals with jobs and companies, and monitor ongoing performance and experience. Skills (including English language), personality, and aptitude assessments are used in combination to get a fully-rounded understanding not only of current capabilities, but also areas for improvement.
While customers direct the work of your team members, Relay provides a variety of in-office support that makes a big difference for quality of work-life. Relay staff is on-hand to provide support, answer questions, and fix problems for things like facilities, connectivity, HR and benefits, and other common needs. In addition, Relay is in regular contact with your team members about things like engagement levels, workload, and communication issues, providing an important buffer and feedback loop to make adjustments and avoid problems.
Advice for Employers
Working with international teams involves learning some new techniques and approaches. Relay supports our customers with training and materials, and provides a framework of best practices to improve the results. Relay can provide basic self-guided tools, computer-based training videos, or even custom coaching, for your team. This ability to support the local team through a learning process is an important aspect of successful change management.
Getting started with Relay is easy!
Send us a message and someone from our Relay team will contact you to discuss how Relay’s services will benefit your organization.
2727 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75234