With a shift to remote work, and after nearly a year-plus of lockdowns, quarantines, and isolation, it might be hard to conceive of a world where individuals are regularly travelling again. The reality however is not only do employees want more flexibility in where they work, a recent study by BCD Travel shows 60% of business travellers expect to be travelling again by the middle of 2021, and by the end of the year the figure could be about 90%. As we move into 2021 we will also start to see the realities of Brexit and Posted Workers unfold with new rules in effect from 1 Feb for UK/EU travel and immigration. For HR and Finance teams across the world, managing distributed workforces is about to get exponentially more challenging. So how can organisations tackle this complex new world of compliance across European travel at scale?
Understand Employee Footprint
Laptops allow us to physically work from anywhere, and 2020 certainly brought to light that many people took the opportunity to do just that. Employees might not be aware that their physical working location can have significant tax and immigration consequences., Corporate policy and education is going to be a crucial step to help create the mindset that employees should always check before they travel.
The good news, results from a recent study by Topia show that employees are in fact comfortable with employers knowing their whereabouts on a country, state and city location, as long as their privacy is respected and the information is used correctly for their company to remain compliant. This information will enable organizations to implement flexible policies with less risk of inadvertently triggering compliance issues.
Know before they go!
As travellers prepare to cross-borders there will be a number of new additional levels of documentation required, from the possible vaccine passports and negative Covid tests to A1 certificates and visa applications. The implementation of Pre-Travel Assessments will automate processes and support employees to ensure the right documentation has been completed within the right timescales, while also identifying to an organisation any red flags that might need to be addressed and prevent potential compliance risk before travel occurs.
Define who owns what
There are so many different rules and regulations around the globe that differ from country to county. It will require multiple functions across the business working together to
ensure the multitude of tax, immigration, social security and posted workers directive implications are covered. A clear and concise strategy of approach is needed to ensure teams are working together and it’s recommended to appoint a senior leader to not only drive this alignment forward and deliver operationally, but also to bridge the gap and gain organization-wide leadership support.
There is a magnitude of scrutiny surrounding compliance risk and the consequences of not being compliant are great. The impacts of the global pandemic mixed with the dynamic of Brexit and Posted Workers are hugely impacting the way companies need to manage employee location data and business travel processes. Topia provides solutions that enable individuals to work everywhere while keeping their organisations compliant.