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REMOTE WORK. When the worker’s away where will the boss pay?

Posted on: 12 Oct, 20

Our intrepid heroes, Oury and Clark, discuss the changing nature of work and air some concerns

Oury says...

What’s the matter, Clark? You look more stressed than a government minister in charge of Covid strategy.

I’m pretty sure two of my employees - a married couple - have moved to the South of France.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Ha! Good for them. I was thinking of doing the same thing. Only Portugal. Big fan of the sardines.

The only fan, more like. But employees wandering off - it’s problematic.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Why? What’s it to do with you where they live? As long as they turn up on time and do the job like they’re supposed to.

They don’t turn up anymore. They’re working remotely.

Clark says...
Oury says...

So?

France is a different country.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Oh, don’t go all Brexitentious on me.

I’m not going all Brexitblahblah. It’s got nothing to do with Brexit. They might be British, but they are now living in France - they are spending over half their time there.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I don’t blame them.

Oury, you are taxed where you do your job. They should be paying taxes in France, and I should be abiding by French employment laws.

Clark says...
Oury says...

French employment laws! You must take three hours at lunch, or five if you’re having an affair with the boss!

Don’t you see the bigger implications here? Only about 40% of UK office workers are back at their desks. Most are working remotely from home. And they’re enjoying it.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I love working from home. I can go to work in my pants.

Oury! Remember when the doorbell rang during that Zoom call, you stood up to answer and flashed us your all.

Clark says...
Oury says...

That’s why I’ve started wearing pants now. But I love not commuting. I don’t have to breathe in air that has passed through the often unwashed armpits of seventeen sweaty tube passengers. The music I listen to is no longer dictated by whatever is played on the phone of the most obnoxious teenager on the bus!

Yes, the large majority of people prefer working remotely - all the surveys show that. And workers are more productive at home too.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I’ll say. I’m 43 years old. I’ve been commuting two hours a day since I began work 21 years ago. That’s 10 hours a week. Say there are 48 working weeks per year.

Oury.

Clark says...
Oury says...

So, that’s 10 hours times 48 weeks. 480. And then 480 times 21.

Oury!

Clark says...
Oury says...

What’s 480 times 21? Where’s my phone? Here we are. 10,080. 10,080 hours of my life spent commuting. Gosh. What’s that in days? Do I divide by 24 or 12, do you think?

OURY!!!

Clark says...
Oury says...

Yes?

Concentrate.

Clark says...
Oury says...

I am concentrating. This is important stuff. Let’s go with 12 - we won’t count time asleep. 840 days. I have spent a total of 840 working days commuting. Two years of my living life effectively (not counting weekends). I could have done BTEC in that time. What a waste.

Precisely. And that’s why people aren’t going to go back to their offices if they don’t have to. For example, in Germany, which doesn’t have densely packed cities like London - 74% of workers have gone back, but less than half of them are working full time. We are not going back to the old ways of commuting. More and more people are working remotely.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Who can blame them?

There are even recruiting apps, platforms, headhunting companies specifically designed for remote working.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Oh, god. Not another LinkedIn. Is there anyone on LinkedIn who isn’t a motivational speaker?

There are quite a few connectors as well.

Clark says...
Oury says...

Why be in some poky flat in London. I’d rather be in the country. Heck, I’d rather be in a nice pad in rural France or Portugal or, on a beach in Thailand than in some sleeping cell in zone 6!

Lots of people will be thinking the same thing. Think of the implications. Have they got the right kind of visa? What about the tax implications. It’s an administrative nightmare. Different jurisdictions have different rules. Workers will be moving from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Who do they pay tax to? Who do we, the employer, pay tax to?

Clark says...
Oury says...

Yes, I can imagine that might be a bit tricky, but surely it’s worth it! I’d love to live in Greece, imagine living in Greece with London wages, that would be amazing!

Again, it’s not so simple, If the employee decides to live in Greece, then why pay London wages - we only need to pay Greek level wages. They may not be happy with that.

Clark says...
Oury says...

You know I’m thinking of becoming a digital nomad too. I rather fancy the lifestyle. Greece. Then a bit of Thailand. Then across to the Philippines.

Of course you would! You probably want London wages, Greek weather, German healthcare, Irish humour and a Swedish partner, but you can’t have it all! I saw a presentation - and this was before Covid - that argued that 1 billion people in a global workforce of 6 billion and a global population of 9 billion would be digital nomads by 2035. Who do they pay tax to?

Clark says...
Oury says...

LOL

Income tax is the government’s largest source of revenue. There are plenty that will enjoy not paying it, but plenty more who just won’t know what they are supposed to be paying and to whom. Then the employing company could have tax obligations too. It’s a cluster … you know what. And then think of the consequences to government revenue. And then to government services. Nations have overspent during Covid, then they lose tax revenue. There are going to be nations that go bankrupt. And you ask me why I look stressed!

Clark says...
Oury says...

Oh, well, you know what’s good for stress Clark? Sunshine! I’m going to the beach. Coming?

OK. I’ll get my bathers - and a visa.

Clark says...

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We are but two fictitious characters throwing out ideas and comment to stimulate debate and collect information. As professional service firms, we are open minded people and think independent thought and debate is essential to help understand, as well as navigate, complex problems. By joves – doing business across Europe (and the world) is set to become a whole lot more complex in light of recent seismic political events. As businesses - we provide information and hopefully some wisdom - and we see this blog and its caricatures merely as a much more fun, perhaps slightly controversial way, of stimulating debate and collecting ideas. We’re searching for some true pearls of wisdom, and as we find them, we’ll share them with you.

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