Work from anywhere policies – how do they work in reality?
The pandemic proved that many of us could do our jobs from literally anywhere. So how should a business manage this?
These days we hear more and more about “digital nomads”. These are people who have embraced technology in a way that allows them to work while travelling across the world. They are different to remote workers, who tend to stay in one place and pop in and out of the office, while working from home a lot of the time.
Digital nomads tend to travel and explore different countries while working from a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection.
Managing employees who are digital nomads can leave businesses open to a range of regulatory and legal risks and that is why it is important to have a robust policy in place, if you intend to employ these types of workers.
A work from anywhere policy could provide your employees with the opportunity to spend some of their time working overseas. Offering such flexibility could help to reduce office costs for the business and would offer an attractive value proposition to employees.
However, working from anywhere could create potential tax issues for employees who could end up with personal income tax filing obligations in the various countries in which they have worked. Employees would need to take steps to manage this and employers would need to ensure that they have adequate controls in place in order to avoid exposing the firm to corporation tax or additional regulatory requirements depending on where the work is actually carried out.
Your firm would also need to put an appropriate IT security policy in place, to avoid potential cyber security issues.
If your firm is serious about implementing a work from anywhere policy, it would be worth taking both Irish HR and legal advice and advice in the jurisdiction that the employee will be working in for a period of time. Your firm may also consider allowing employees to work from certain jurisdictions only, in order to avoid creating tax issues.
If employees want to spend longer periods of time working overseas, it may be worth considering a different type of employment relationship such as a consultancy agreement rather than employing the individual directly.