Office Anywhere

COVID-19 has changed the work environment, bringing new exposure to risks for employee and employer alike
Work From Anywhere has become the new call to arms as organizations try to reignite existing workforces and attract new talent, but like all transformations it is only as good as the process that guides it. COVID has proven to be a valuable use-case in many areas, not least of which was managing the changes forced upon operational cultures and our approach to work-life balance. Savvy enterprises seeking to bring on new talent know this and are making “work from anywhere” a hallmark of their employment practices. Other, dare I say, “old-fashioned” employers may realize they have no choice but to embrace it in the age-old game of market forces dictating terms.

Whatever the motivation, employers should not go quickly into this new dawn. Aside from the appeal, and potential savings on office space and other common expenses, there are many factors to consider. Some can be quite costly. In an attempt to protect themselves, companies are putting their Travel Risk Management teams to the task. But this new modality has little in common with the current TRM school and in fact shares more ground with other corporate functions.

Previously, an organization headquartered in one country could avoid the complicated gymnastics of hiring a worker domiciled elsewhere simply by classifying that person as an independent contractor. But individuals are no longer willing to part with the protection and perks of being an employee. One solution is working with a company that provides distributed workforces. Known as “employers of record” in Europe and Asia, EORs are similar to Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) in the United States. The EOR or PEO is the registered employer for tax and administrative purposes, but the day-to-day management of the employee remains with the organization.

This is one way to get over the initial hurdle of onboarding the employee, but it does not mean the work is done. Risks and other implications will continue to accrue to the employer and employee alike. In the past, Travel Risk Management was the framework for managing how we moved our people around. Whether those were meetings, field visits, conferences or anything else, the placements were temporary (even if on a rotation) and the TRM teams had their tried and true playbooks for managing those movements. That will no longer suffice.

Categories: Special ReportDuty of Care and Risk Management

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