15th September 2020
As global lockdowns struck there was certainly an element of concern and even fear across the international contracting community as projects stalled and travel restrictions prevented many professionals from moving across borders for work. However, we saw numerous end-hirers adapt in a way most of us perhaps didn’t expect they would in order to still tap into contract workers – by allowing more to work remotely from their home country. And as the uncertainty in the global economy continues to impact us all, this remote option is being extended. But contracting from home can be difficult and certainly comes with a number of compliance challenges.
We round up some useful tips and information for contractors facing an extended period working remotely.
The benefits of contracting from home
There are a number of benefits to the remote working approach that’s been adopted. Aside from the fact that it keeps numerous contract professionals in work (which is certainly the greatest concern at the moment!) it can also improve the work life balance of many experts.
Relocating for a contract can involve moving your family overseas and helping them settle in to a new country or even an extended period away from loved ones. Being able to work remotely from your home country can eliminate this challenge for some contractors (though you do miss out on the many benefits of traveling – including the chance to experience new cultures and network with a diverse range of peers).
The shift towards more flexible approaches to employment also works in the favour of contractors as it has alleviated some of the ‘presenteeism’ culture that has long been embedded in many businesses. This has historically led to many individuals having to physically be in the office at set times when it’s perhaps unnecessary. Looking to the future, should this sentiment remain in place, it could help alleviate some of the challenges contractors have faced balancing start-dates with travel times and visa applications.
Making it work for you
There’s a wealth of information available to suggest how we can all make the most of remote working. While it’s important to find a system that works for you and your individual circumstances, here are some top tips to help you manage when working away from the office as a contractor:
- Set a routine: While you might not be in the office or at your destination of work, it is important to still set a routine to ensure there is a separation between your professional and personal life. Working remotely can blur the lines of work and home which, as many experts have warned throughout lockdown, could have a detrimental impact on your mental health.
- Connect with your teams: Moving between contracts allows professionals to access a wide range of colleagues and really grow their contacts. While you may be working remotely, ensuring you are connecting with your teams virtually will not only benefit the project your working on now, but it will also help you continue to build your connections.
- Don’t forget your wider network: For contractors, the ability to network in-person has long been hugely valuable in securing your next placement. However, with restrictions limiting face-to-face meetings in some areas, it’s important that experts take this networking online. Setting aside time to develop and grow your professional networks during extended lockdown’s will prove hugely valuable in the longer-term.
- Give yourself space: When mass remote working was first introduced, most people simply worked where ever they could at the time. But when operating out of the office on a more longer-term basis, having a dedicated work area where possible will certainly be useful.
- Set boundaries: For those working from home with family in the house, setting boundaries can help prevent your personal life slipping into your professional time and vice versa. Agreeing rules for when you are working is just as important as switching off at the end of the day.
Don’t let compliance slip
It can be all too easy to forget about some of the more common elements of an international contractor placement when you’re working from home. But while you might not necessarily be travelling across borders, that doesn’t mean that certain aspects of ‘business as usual’ activity can be ignored.
Ensuring you are operating compliantly, for example, is just as crucial while contracting from home. In fact, for some it can be much more complex than if they had actually travelled overseas for the assignment. The main challenge is that a contractor operating in one country, delivering work for a business in another destination could be subject to two tax laws.
As we’ve mentioned in numerous blogs before, regulations vary in different jurisdictions, so it would be impossible to outline in a single article exactly what laws apply to individuals contracting from home. However, what we can say for certain is that complacency in this matter has the significant potential to impact you financially.
The global clampdown on tax evasion has been growing for many years, but governments worldwide are facing a financial nightmare in a Covid hit environment. As such, many are clawing back funds where they can, increasing the chances that a small administrative mistake could cost contractors dearly.
That’s why it’s crucial that expat professionals and those contracting from home seek expert advice to ensure they remain compliant no matter where in the world they’re working, and no matter where the work is delivered for. The team here at 6CATS International has extensive experience in multiple jurisdictions across the globe.
We have some of the most experienced professionals in the sector, with a wealth of knowledge to draw on and can advise on most countries around the world. So, whether you are working remotely from your home country or traveling for your next opportunity, we can remove the compliance burden from your shoulders, allowing you to get on with the job at hand.
Why not contact us to find out more?
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