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Global Mobile Employees – How to Get it Right

By July 11, 2016 November 20th, 2017 No Comments
Global Mobile Employees - How to Get it Right

Global mobile employees are much more than remote, outsourced team members.  The global shift in mobility for workers began years ago; giving people the tools to do their work anywhere.  Local and international businesses are taking advantage of mobile employees to increase productivity and expand their businesses into new environments.  To understand the idea of mobile employees, let’s look at what this means for businesses and how it can benefit the overall operation.

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What are mobile employees?

For many years, the workforce has evolved into a dynamic combination of traditional office staff, remote workers, and a hybrid of the two.  Working from multiple locations is a requirement for many professions including sales reps, consultants, and multi-region managers.  The growth of mobile employees stems from a need to broaden horizons and a demand for change of scenery.

The changing workplace started to evolve with our continued reliance on the Internet and technology.  An increase in virtual collaboration has caused a paradigm shift where offices can work effectively without being in the same location.  These circumstances appeal to many employees who prefer to be mobile, whether that be for personal or work reasons.

What are the benefits of mobile employees?

Contrary to initial belief, there’s a science behind letting employees work from home.  It’s not simply the preference of upper-management.  Team members who work from home are more productive, more engaged, and happier.  Higher engagement also leads to decreased turnover for companies, which ultimately increases a firm’s bottom line.  To reap the rewards of mobility, businesses must realize the benefits coming from mobile employees both locally and internationally.

An average company invests about 8% of its annual operating costs in its workspace, but 78% in salaries and benefits.  Having the perfect balance of mobile and stationary employees helps a business attract top talent.  Many top-tier candidates research a company on sources such as Glassdoor to find out what current employees think of the working environment.

Mobile employees’ impact on international business

Today’s volatile business environment makes the idea of mobility even more appealing for both business owners and employees.  Mobility isn’t just a popular trend in the US; it’s also taking strides in countries like Japan where long, hectic commutes create a demand for remote options.

Employees looking to travel abroad as an expatriate to work in new markets have more opportunities because of this increasing trend around the world. To ease an expat’s transition into a new country, employers should help their employees with legal requirements like obtaining the proper documentation and living arrangements.

Tax considerations with global mobile employees

Expats also need to consider the tax implications that come with working in a new country.  These requirements vary in each country. They can be a burden if their home country doesn’t have a tax treaty with their new country.  Employees have tax and reporting liability back home, even though their income is earned in a different market overseas.  As an employer, you can assist your employees with these obligations in the form of Tax Assistance, where you cover the costs they incur in both countries, or Tax Equalization, where you make them “whole” if the total tax bill is higher than intended.  We go into more detail about the tax implications for expats in this post.

Talent pool increase

Aside from taxes and labor laws, employers with mobile employees benefit from a diverse talent pool that can bring innovative ideas to the table. Increasing mobility can also lead to a strong corporate culture; if leaders of the organization stay involved and give their employees the tools to succeed.