Browse Talent
    • Why Terminal
    • Hire Developers in Canada
    • Hire Developers in LatAm
    • Hire Developers in Europe
    • Success Stories
  • Hiring Plans
Engineers Browse Talent
Go back to Resources

Demand | Blog Post

Remote Work and Employment Glossary: Guide to Global Hiring Terminology

Todd Adams

Share this post

The landscape of work and employment has undergone a significant transformation the past few years. The rise of remote work and the increasing trend of hiring globally have introduced new complexities and opportunities for businesses and hiring managers. Navigating this evolving space requires a comprehensive understanding of the terms and concepts that define international hiring and remote employment.

This remote work and remote employment glossary is tailored specifically for hiring companies and managers seeking to expand their horizons in the global job market. Whether you’re a seasoned professional in international hiring or new to it,, this resource is designed to equip you with the essential terminology and insights needed to make informed decisions. From understanding employment arrangements like ‘Freelancers’ and ‘Full-Time Employees (FTEs)’ to grasping legal and logistical concepts such as ‘Work Permits’, ‘Visas’, and ‘Compliance’, this glossary covers a wide array of crucial terms.

Moreover, as remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, terms like ‘Asynchronous Communication’, ‘Digital Nomad’, and ‘Hybrid Workplace’ are becoming integral to the modern work vocabulary. Understanding these concepts is key to fostering a productive, inclusive, and legally compliant remote workforce.

This glossary serves as your go-to reference for clear and concise explanations of the most relevant terms in the world of remote work and international employment. It’s an invaluable tool for staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of global hiring, ensuring that your business not only adapts but also thrives in this new era of work.

Key Remote Work and Employment Terms

Contract to Hire (Contract-to-Hire)

Contract to hire is an employment arrangement where an individual is initially hired on a contract basis with the potential to become a permanent employee after a specific period. This approach allows employers to evaluate the worker’s performance before offering full-time employment. Contract to hire means contractors get a chance to evaluate that the company partnership is a good fit before making a full-time decision. Ultimately contract to hire developers can be a big win for both parties.

Learn more in our post on why hiring developers contract-to-hire may be a good fit for you. Or explore Terminal’s contract to hire developer options.


A contractor is an individual or company that provides services to another entity under the terms of a contract. Unlike employees, contractors typically retain control over their work hours, methods, and are often responsible for their own business expenses and taxes.

Terminal now offers Contractors and Full-time Hires, depending on your needs.

Employer of Record (EOR)

An Employer of Record (EOR) is a third-party organization that takes on the legal responsibilities of employing staff on behalf of another company. This includes handling payroll, taxes, benefits, and compliance with local employment laws, particularly useful in international hiring scenarios.

Learn more in our post about the difference between an EOR and a PEO.

Full-time employee (FTE)

A Full-time employee (FTE) is an individual employed on a permanent basis, typically working a standard work week. Full-time employees usually receive benefits such as healthcare, paid leave, and are subject to employment laws and protections.

Terminal now offers Contractors and Full-time Hires, depending on your needs.

Professional Employment Organization (PEO)

A Professional Employment Organization (PEO) is a firm that provides a service under which an employer can outsource employee management tasks, such as employee benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation, recruiting, risk/safety management, and training and development.

Learn more in our post about the difference between an EOR and a PEO.

Work From Home (WFH)

Work From Home (WFH) is a work arrangement where employees perform their job duties from their home rather than a central office. Enabled by digital communication technologies, it offers flexibility and has become increasingly popular.

Full Remote Work and Employment Glossary

13th Month Salary

The 13th month salary is a form of bonus payment, often equivalent to a full month’s salary, given to employees at the end of the year. Common in many Latin American, Asian, and European countries, this additional payment is typically mandated by law and is separate from performance bonuses.

Annualized Hours

Annualized hours refer to a work agreement where an employee’s working hours are calculated on an annual basis rather than weekly or monthly. This system provides flexibility in managing workloads and staffing, allowing for varied working hours across different periods to meet business needs.

Asynchronous Communication (Async Comms)

Asynchronous communication involves exchanges that do not happen in real-time, allowing participants to respond at their convenience. This method, common in remote work, includes emails, recorded video messages, and online discussion boards, facilitating collaboration across different time zones.

Learn more in our guide to improving remote team communication.

Candidates Per Open Role

Candidates per open role is a recruitment metric that refers to the average number of job applicants for each vacancy. This indicator helps businesses understand the competitiveness and attractiveness of their job openings in the market.

Co-located Team

A co-located team consists of members who work in the same physical location, such as an office. This setting facilitates direct, face-to-face interaction and collaboration, which can enhance communication and team dynamics.


Compliance in the context of global hiring and employment refers to adhering to all legal and regulatory requirements in different jurisdictions. This includes labor laws, tax regulations, work permits, and employment standards to ensure lawful and ethical business practices.

Data Privacy and Protection Laws (GDPR)

Data Privacy and Protection Laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, set strict guidelines for collecting, storing, and processing personal data. Businesses must comply with these regulations to protect individual privacy rights and avoid significant penalties.

Digital Nomad

A digital nomad is a person who uses technology to perform their job remotely while traveling to different locations. They often work from public spaces, co-working spaces, or anywhere with a reliable internet connection, embracing a lifestyle of flexibility and mobility.


Digital-first is an approach where businesses prioritize digital channels for delivering services, products, and customer interactions. It emphasizes the use of technology and online platforms to engage with clients and conduct business operations.

Distributed Workforce

A distributed workforce is a group of employees who work remotely from various geographic locations. This model leverages technology to coordinate and collaborate, allowing companies to tap into a wider talent pool without geographical constraints.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to the level of an employee’s emotional commitment and enthusiasm towards their work and company. High engagement is often linked to better productivity, job satisfaction, and retention rates.

Employment Agreement (EA)

An Employment Agreement (EA) is a formal contract between an employer and an employee outlining the terms and conditions of employment. It typically includes job responsibilities, salary, benefits, work hours, and conditions for termination.


A freelancer is a self-employed individual who offers services to clients, often working on multiple projects for different clients at a time. Freelancers are not committed to a particular employer long-term and usually handle their own taxes and business expenses.

H1-B Visa

The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States allowing U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The visa is commonly used for hiring highly skilled workers in fields such as IT, engineering, and finance.

Hot Desking

Hot desking is an office organization system where employees do not have assigned desks and can choose different workstations each day. This flexible approach maximizes space efficiency and encourages collaboration among employees.


Hoteling is a workplace management practice where employees schedule their use of workspaces, such as desks and offices, in advance. It’s commonly used in flexible and remote working environments to manage limited office resources efficiently.

Hybrid workplace

A hybrid workplace combines both in-office and remote work. Employees in a hybrid model have the flexibility to work from home and the office, allowing for a balance between remote work benefits and in-office collaboration.

Individual Contributor (IC)

An Individual Contributor (IC) is an employee who contributes to a company through their individual efforts and skills, rather than managing a team. ICs are often specialists in their field and play a critical role in their organization’s success.

Master Service Agreement (MSA)

A Master Service Agreement (MSA) is a contract reached between parties, in which the parties agree to most of the terms that will govern future transactions or future agreements. The MSA defines the overall framework within which the parties will work together.

Nearshore / Nearshoring

Nearshore or nearshoring refers to outsourcing business processes or services to companies in nearby countries, often to take advantage of cultural similarities, time zone alignment, and geographical proximity.

Learn more about if Nearshore or Offshore hiring is right for you.

Offshore / Offshoring

Offshore or offshoring involves relocating business processes or services to a distant country, often to capitalize on lower labor costs or favorable economic conditions.

Remote Enablement

Remote enablement refers to the processes and technologies that empower employees to work effectively from remote locations. This includes providing the necessary tools, software, and support to facilitate efficient and productive remote work.

Remote Forward

Remote forward is a business strategy where remote work is actively prioritized and integrated into a company’s operations and culture. It involves designing processes and policies that support and enhance remote working experiences.

Remote Work

Remote work, also known as telecommuting, involves performing job duties outside of a traditional office environment. This mode of work is enabled by digital communication tools, allowing employees to work from home or other locations.

Return to Office (RTO)

Return to Office (RTO) refers to the process or plan of bringing remote employees back to the physical workplace, either on a full-time or hybrid basis, following a period of remote work due to circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tax Nexus

Tax nexus is a legal term that refers to the requirement for businesses to collect and pay tax in a jurisdiction. It is based on the presence of a substantial physical or economic connection to that area, such as property, employees, or sales activities.

Technical Assessment

Technical assessment is a process used to evaluate the technical skills and abilities of candidates, particularly in fields like software development. It often involves practical tests, coding challenges, or problem-solving exercises.


To telecommute means to work remotely, often from home, using telecommunications technology. It allows employees to perform their job duties from outside the traditional office environment, leveraging digital communication and collaboration tools.

Time to Hire (TTH)

Time to Hire (TTH) is a recruitment metric that measures the duration from when a job candidate is first contacted to when they accept a job offer. It is an indicator of the efficiency of the hiring process.

Time Zone Alignment

Time Zone Alignment involves coordinating work schedules and communication strategies to accommodate the different time zones of a distributed or global team. It’s crucial for ensuring smooth collaboration and minimizing time-related challenges.


A visa is an official document or electronic record granting a person permission to enter and temporarily stay within a country. Visas are often required for employment purposes, especially when hiring international employees or for work-related travel.

Work Permit

A work permit is an official document granting a non-citizen permission to work in a specific country. Work permits are necessary for most foreign workers and are subject to various regulations and requirements depending on the country.


Workation combines work and vacation, allowing employees to work remotely while traveling or staying in a vacation setting. This concept promotes a flexible lifestyle where work can be done from various leisure locations.

Recommended reading

Hiring + recruiting | Blog Post

15 Machine Learning Interview Questions for Hiring Machine Learning Engineers