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Designing working-from-home policies for overseas assignments | Caitlin Pyett

Employees who are used to working from home in the UK may face a different prospect when they are sent on an overseas assignment. Caitlin Pyett examines the issues for HR and global mobility professionals who want to cater for assignees’ hybrid working expectations when working abroad.

Flexible working between home and the office has been a pressing concern for businesses worldwide since 2020. Despite legislation in the UK giving employees a statutory right to ask to work flexibly, policies differ greatly overseas.

Working from home continues to be a heated topic in the corporate landscape even today, with many large multinational businesses now encouraging – and some even forcing – a return to the office, much to the dismay of employees.

While many companies have developed policies to accommodate this new way of working, addressing hybrid or flexible working for employees on assignment overseas adds an additional layer of complexity, calling the very purpose of these assignments into question.

If an assignee never leaves the confines of their home while working overseas, one might wonder if there is even a genuine need for them to be on assignment in the first place.

However, a case can be made for the benefits of assignees being in the same time zone as their colleagues and suppliers overseas, allowing, say, a UK company to establish a stronger presence in territories such as the US and APAC. And for employees, the chance to experience a new and exciting culture…

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