15 Sep 2021 9:50 AM

In early 2020 the pandemic caught the world by surprise. This surely has been a challenging period for most people and organisations. Although there is one positive aspect of this pandemic which is the growing rise of remote working. The speed with which companies have adapted to this way of working has been remarkable. Technology has no doubt played the biggest role in enabling this to happen and has contributed to keeping millions of people employed and thousands of companies from going out of business. As the crisis worsened, individuals found themselves stranded in various places, with some far from their homes or country of employment. These displaced workers had very little choice but to remain where they were due to lockdowns and border closures.

Fast forward a year and a half, some of these individuals have continued working remotely from a country that is not their normal country of employment. Reasons include a desire to remain close to families, live in their home country, or improve their work-life balance.

Many employers have agreed to continue with overseas remote working in many cases because the arrangement has proved satisfactory from a productivity point of view and has meant continuity of business with minimum disruption on one hand and happy employees on another.

Trends within remote working are quickly changing. Employees who have found themselves working from home for the past year and a half have found practical alternative solutions to their working schedules. Employers on the other hand see the benefits of a flexible remote working approach, with potential cost reductions and productivity increases among other benefits.

In order to enjoy these benefits, organisations need to rethink their ‘office mentality’ and truly embrace a remote-first culture. That means not just allowing workers to continue operating remotely, but also providing them with the resources, policies, and training that will allow them to thrive in this new work environment.

At this point it’s worth mentioning it’s strongly advisable for both employee and employer to seek professional advice on the tax implications and obligations (in all tax jurisdictions); and to review employment contracts, when considering new arrangements which involve overseas remote working as this can be a complex area.

Many employers have suggested that remote working is here to stay, whether through a hybrid model of office and home-based work, or via permanent office closures creating 100% working from home arrangements. What do you think?