Winter in the UK isn’t much fun, so if we didn’t have kids I would absolutely be working from a different country for part of it. Why not?
This is not a new thing: when I worked at Mozilla (2012-15) I almost moved to Gozo, a little island off Malta, as I could work from anywhere. So long as people are productive, and you can interact with them at times that work for everyone, what’s the problem?
Two-plus years into the pandemic, companies all around the world are starting to ask—and sometimes demand—that their employees return to the office. In response, many employees have resisted, citing reduced commute times, better work-life balance, and a greater ability to concentrate at home.
But for an unknown number of people, there is another reason as well: They can’t come in, because they secretly don’t live in the same state or even country anymore.
The issue is larger than it may seem, and many companies are struggling to deal with “employees relocating themselves to ‘nicer’ places to work without letting the business know,” said Robby Wogan, the CEO of global mobility company MoveAssist. One survey performed on behalf of the HR company Topia found that as many as 40 percent of HR professionals had recently discovered that employees were working outside their home state or country, and that only 46 percent were “very confident” they know where most of their workers are, down from 60 percent just last year.
That uncertainty appears justified. In the same survey, 66 percent of the 1,500 full-time employees surveyed in the U.S. and U.S. said they did not tell human resources about all the dates they worked outside of their state or country, and 94 percent said they believe they should be able to work wherever they want if their work gets done.