One in four office workers plan to take advantage of remote working to log on from abroad this year as part of a growing work from anywhere culture.
The bad news is that a third of them will be breaking company rules in the process, it has been suggested.
A poll of more than 2,000 of them found that the dramatic rise in hybrid working post-pandemic now extends to a “work from anywhere” culture.
But risk managers are warning that employees choosing to locate themselves overseas bring dangerous implications for themselves and their employers.
Although some companies do allow overseas working, insurance broker Gallagher found that a large number of staff were doing so covertly. They go as far as to say one in seven of them will keep it secret from their employers – with the likes of Barbados, Spain and Dubai proving most popular.
They warn that casual, remote working may breach laws in some destinations and invalidating insurance. What’s more is almost three in ten overseas workers have faced challenges that impacted their ability to work, including travel disruption, damaged, stolen and lost technology as well as personal accidents.
By law, businesses in the UK require employee liability insurance which could be invalidated if employees are working abroad and the insurer isn’t told and businesses remain responsible for the health and safety of regardless of where they are working. This would mean that if an employee has an accident the firm could be liable for the resulting fallout.
Gallagher found that around half take out only personal insurance when working abroad, which they say, may not be suitable cover.
It is vital both employees and employers give significant consideration to their flexible working policies, ensuring they are fit for purpose
Legal risks include health and safety, data, salary and working hour, IT licences and medical insurance. On top of that there is Cybersecurity. Working from overseas increases the chance of employees connecting to unsecure Wi-Fi networks and not only does this increase the risk of falling victim to a cyber-attack, but many insurance policies will be invalidated if overseas risks are not part of the policy.
It is a common misconception that individuals can enter a country as a “visitor” and work remotely from a country without first obtaining a work visa, plus by working overseas employees may cause taxation issues and problems with benefits such as pensions.
“The rise in remote working has given many UK employees greater freedom and flexibility in where they do their work, but there are risks,” said Neil Hodgson, Managing Director of Risk Management at Gallagher.
“It is vital both employees and employers give significant consideration to their flexible working policies, ensuring they are fit for purpose.”
The research comes at a time when employees are increasingly seeking more flexible working arrangements, despite some employers preferring a return to the office. Currently, 73 per cent of all office employers work hybrid weeks, with 11 per cent of these working just one day a week in the office.
Of those who work from home, two thirds have worked from somewhere other than their home, with cafes, hotels and outdoors among the most popular options.
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