Home-Office VS Digital Nomad: Mobility In A Remote Workplace

Author

Claudia Trogisch Ezquerra

Estimated reading time

5 min

Publish date

Apr 8, 2021

Tags

REMOTE WORK
Table of Contents:

Global mobility

For many, working remotely has been something like a dream reserved for people working in the field of IT or anything digital. Travelling and exploring the world while working at the same time. But then COVID made it possible for everyone.

Admittedly, only a few got further than the kitchen table turned-into-office desk.


But as time passes, we are slowly getting a glimpse into what our post-pandemic future will look like, and while for many this will mean packing their bags and working from the pool, other opportunities of virtual work are becoming increasingly prominent.

The home-stayers

A recent study conducted by BCG, has shown that the willingness to move abroad has decreased since 2014, when around 63% of the respondents were already abroad or willing to go abroad, to 50% in 2020.

This has different reasons, including a number of nationalistic immigration policies.The COVID-19 pandemic with the travel restrictions has also played a role in this changing attitude.

However, the possibility of working remotely has also reversed the idea of what actually is possible. Instead of working from anywhere in the world for your hometown company, many are profiting from the benefits of a foreign job without having to relocate.

It makes sense to think that working remotely enables people to focus more on the actual job offer- compensation, job content and how established the employer is. Cultural attractions of the country where the employer is located matter less under this work model.

The travellers

People in the Middle East and North Africa are the biggest exception to the declining interest in working abroad. Reasons may be that some of the countries in these areas do not offer the same career opportunities as in the West.

In other countries around the world such as Brazil and a handful of European countries, the willingness to move abroad for work has gone up, possibly because of the poor Covid response in their own country.

Top destinations

The pandemic has also led to a reordering of the top national destinations. The US for instance, affected by an inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies and social unrest has fallen in the ranking with Canada now occupying the first spot and being closely followed by Australia.

The reasons for Australia and Canada increasing popularity is their similarity to the US having English as an official language while both having done a far better job of pandemic management. They also have a better social system.

However, it is interesting to see that the US still leads the ranking when it comes to people's willingness to work for an US employer without moving there, suggesting that American employment remains appealing when one takes away the political and social risks of living in this country.

Germany has also fallen in the ranking most probably because of the EU’s overall number of coronavirus cases as well as the country’s previously strong support for immigration. The high infection rates have also affected other European countries including France, Spain and Italy, with only France remaining on the top 10 list now.

On the other hand, Asia-Pacific countries have done a better job when it comes to the management of the pandemic, helping them move up on the ranking.

South Korea has also risen, even though not to the top 10 list, from spot 24 to 12th. This proves how much importance is being placed on public health and widespread business shutdowns around the world during the pandemic.

New challenges for employers

Employers will have to look out for different challenges when recruiting the next generation of talent, taking into consideration different aspects such as changing goals and attitudes, as well as the fragility of countries’ brands.

Especially a more intense competition for the top talent with the most critical skills is a risk that companies are increasingly facing due to regulatory barriers and a decrease of people wanting to relocate.

A remote work model as a strategy

Working remotely eliminates barriers for both employers and employees likewise. While employers will be able to have access to the best workforce in the global talent pool, employees will be able to offer their services to the highest bidder without having to uproot their lives.

Even though the willingness to work for a foreign employer (remotely) is highest in less-developed economies, some European respondents also find the idea appealing.


Employers, especially the ones struggling to fill jobs in digital fields as well as IT, show a particular openness to this virtual work model.

71% of respondents with a digital or analytical background and 67% of people with IT and technology backgrounds are willing to work for a company without a physical presence. Among people with master’s degrees or above the willingness quotient is about 62%.


Not only will companies better tackle talent shortage but they will also allow companies to become more diverse, which again can attract highly skilled workers from all over the world to join the company in question.

WorkMotion

However, one should not underestimate the obstacles that adopting virtual mobility will bring, especially for multinationals.

Cultural integration issues, time zone, data protection differences problems as well as an increase in legal and regulatory complexity and salary strategy are all realities that employers and especially their HR team will be facing when hiring people in countries where they have no pre-existing expertise.

While we might not be able to help with everything, WorkMotion will facilitate the onboarding process and managing employees in more than 150 countries without needing a local branch.

This all-in-one service will make sure you hire, pay and employ employees abroad in compliance with local legal requirements, further supporting you by providing a secure and on-time payments in any foreign currency. Sounds good? Contact us!

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Who is the employer - WorkMotion or are we the employer?

WorkMotion is the employer, not your company.

Employing talent abroad is linked to several compliance risks: on the corporate level (Permanent Establishment), and related to the employee directly (employment taxes, social security, labour law).

WorkMotion’s clients do not want to take on those responsibilities. WorkMotion can provide access to a global network of WorkMotion’s legal entities in over 140 countries. Those legal entities will then hire your talent, i.e. your employees will receive an employment contract by the local company. The local company takes on all of the responsibilities of an employer:

  • issuing the employment contract
  • setting up payroll
  • local registrations of the employee with authorities
  • calculating monthly payroll
  • payments to the employee (=salary), tax-authorities, social security, etc.
  • ensuring compliance with local labour regulations
    etc.

Are there any differences/benefits/increased risks in employing people in the EU versus anywhere else?

No.

WorkMotion covers 140+ countries and we treat all engagements the same, independently from the country.

Countries, of course, vary sometime in terms of labour regulations (e.g. France vs. USA) or benefits that are statutory.

Who bears any legal risks, costs or claims?

WorkMotion (in most cases).

WorkMotion is your compliance partner for employment abroad. We assume most risks associated with the employment of your talent.

When it comes to termination of employment, however, the “financial consequences” (e.g. severance payments, etc.) are borne by you. (please refer to our guidance on terminations as well).