With flexible, remote and hybrid working now the norm within many UK companies, the concept of ‘work from anywhere’ has begun to take off, with employers fielding increasing requests from workers who want to pack up their laptop and log on from a tropical beach or a new bustling city. 

The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics, published in February, show that 44 percent of working adults reported working from home only or hybrid working.

They also show that while both employers and employees are used to this model of working now, lawyers say companies should be wary of letting staff jet off while clocked on.

Clear policies for models of working are crucial

Paula Squire, Partner and employment specialist at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, says a clear policy for all models of working should be laid out to protect both the business and the individual.

“You would be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t matter if your employees, for a UK-based employer, worked anywhere in the world,” said Paula, “but actually there are many things to consider in order to ensure your business is protected together with ensuring transparency for all.”

“The deciding factors are not just about your IT connection or if the employee can be trusted, there’s a lot more to it than that and employers should be aware of the impact when allowing people to work for a company in one country whilst based in another.”

Issues include those around employment rights, tax, financial consequences, health and safety, IT security and data protection concerns. So do seek advice around your specific situation.

Paula continued:

“A recent story about an employee who jetted off to Marbella for a week without using any annual leave seems innocuous at first glance, however, in this case it appears the business in question already has a permanent office base in Spain, which makes things a lot easier but not all employers will.

“It is really important that employers have a clear policy on how to deal with requests so that everyone knows where they stand and the policy is the same across the board.”

“Getting these rules and procedures in place can take a little time and management but it could be worth it in terms of employee satisfaction and getting the best out of your workforce, whilst offering flexibility, so it’s definitely something to consider in the right circumstances.”

“At Clarke Willmott we offer a free employee handbook and contract review service which includes checking remote working policies. Let us know if you wish to take us up on this offer.”

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.