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International Remote Working: The Benefits & Successes

By: Naomi Crich

What is the biggest trend of 2020? If you asked me this question, my answer would be: working remotely. The global pandemic revolving around COVID-19 has accelerated this trend and has shown benefits to remote work, including opportunities that were once never considered.

Over the summer of 2020, our very first cohort of SFU students completed their international co-op completely remote with The Aga Khan University. SFU has partnered with The Aga Khan University (AKU) to provide students with unique and meaningful internship opportunities. AKU’s Internship Program aims to provide a critical learning opportunity that goes beyond simple work experience (AKU, 2020).

We often read articles on how remote work benefits the employer, yet we do not realize how beneficial it can be to the employee as well. As stated by Kenneth Jones of Northeastern State University in Advances in Business Research, there are three individual motivations to work remotely:

  1. Reduction of commuting costs 
  2. Increased flexibility in work 
  3. Increased productivity – it is mentioned that Nortel reported that 73% of their employees reported less stress and 90% reported greater job satisfaction (Moskowitz, 1995; Reinsch, 1997; Jones, 2010) 

As these three motivations are relevant to local remote work, they are also applicable to international remote work. In this case, reduction of commuting costs does not only mean by local transit or car, it can include the travel costs required when departing on an international work term. Increased flexibility in work hours is recognized through the time difference between the employer and employee. An increase in productivity can be significant through the decrease of stress an employee may feel with the opportunity to work remotely instead of internationally.

Whether our students recognized the above factors before applying to AKU’s Internship Program, they successfully proved their perseverance, determination and dedication throughout their entire work term. We learned different outcomes, knowledge, and success stories based off of our five participants who were interviewed on their remote internship.

To watch, listen, and read our students’ testimonies on their work term with AKU, please see below:

Beyond the Article

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Posted on November 12, 2020