Post-pandemic, we have seen a rapid increase in companies offering - or trying to offer – remote working and, indeed, Work from Anywhere. However, when you investigate the finer details, you have to ask, does this truly exist and how often is it effectively put into practice in a fair and equitable way?
When it comes to addressing the Work from Anywhere conundrum, many Gallagher clients seek our advice on how best to accommodate employee’s requests to work in alternate countries versus the practicalities of implementing this. Before seeking our advice, our clients have already come up against blockers and prohibitively high administration and costs. But they also have concerns around losing talent to competitors who might appear to offer Work from Anywhere solutions.
The possibility of Work from Anywhere comes down to how much the company is willing to invest. Potential costs include setting up entities to mitigate corporate tax risks, as well as seeking the relevant tax, employment law and statutory advice in jurisdictions where employees have a desire to work but the company does not have a presence.
Several companies shared that they feel obliged to offer terms which go against their culture and / or current policies and practices, simply because they believe their competitors offer this flexibility. They also share that this flexibility is increasingly expected by talent in the post pandemic world. However, it is often the case that such flexibility is heavily caveated and not applied in all cases.
Some companies have told us that their tolerance for risk is higher than others and that the benefit of offering the flexibility outweighs the level of risk involved. However, possibly the biggest concern is around reputational risk and the impact on company growth if they’re found to be non-compliant. That said, without the right talent, the success of the company is also at risk.
We advise our clients to fully assess the benefits verses the cost and administration involved in managing Work from Anywhere in a compliant way. To evaluate priorities and work closely with your compliance partners before taking any action. And to communicate any relevant policies to the business.
As a minimum, companies should ask:
- Who bears the burden of any additional costs - particularly if this is an employee led request?
- How can you ensure a fair and equitable approach for all employees when, for example, it is often not possible to offer this in all locations?
- How viable is it to set up an entity where you currently have no presence and what are the cost implications of not only setting it up, but also running it?
- Could an Employer of Record (EoR) solution be adopted and are there alternative risks to this approach?
- In addition to statutory requirements, how do you address compensation and benefits in the new location?
- Does data privacy / protection become an issue with the elected location?
- How flexible are your suite of policies and how will you manage exceptions when talent start to expect out of policy approaches?
In our experience it really is a case of implementing a full and thorough due diligence process when it comes to Work from Anywhere. And, just like our clients, Gallagher’s own in-house team deal with this challenge regularly.
RES Forum research
This piece is from the RES Forum’s research paper – Work from Anywhere, practical issues and future possibilities. You can download the paper here.
As part of Gallagher Multinational Benefits and HR Consulting, our Global Mobility advisory teams are specialists, who can help clients translate intent into practice, by simplifying the complex, fast moving, costly and time-consuming world of Global Mobility. We work with our clients to identify opportunities for implementing the most practical approach for their company when redefining and developing agile strategies.