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How have employers responded to the issues thrown up by remote and hybrid working, such as business travel expenses?
What changes are the move to more remote and hybrid working making to how and where we live? While there are still a lot of articles urging everyone back to the office and warning of the terrible dangers of avoiding the daily commute and despite extensive surveys showing that is not what a lot of employees want, a number of workingmums.co.uk employers – and this may well be a minority as the recent Timewise survey shows – are starting to hire people who live a long way from the office who will work mainly remotely.
It’s early days, but there are tentative steps being taken. For instance, one company recently hired a manager who lives in Wales, although the company’s head office is on the southern coast of England. We have also seen more companies not specifying location on their job adverts.
These may be small steps, but someone has to take them. However, are employers having to change their policies to adapt to this new reality? For instance, we know that some employers are looking to pay employees less if they don’t commute regularly and have moved further away from expensive city locations and there has been quite a debate about this.
But what about travel expenses if they work in a hybrid way? Do people have a designated office as their base, even if they work mainly remotely and does this affect the expenses they can claim when travelling to the office or travelling for business? If they live a long way from their base office are they entitled to greater expenses for visits to the office or for business travel?
These are all interesting questions. One employer told us that if a person works in a hybrid way they cannot claim to travel into the office, but can have flexibility about when they come into the office whereas if they are a remote worker they can claim the travel, but the travel into the office and coming into the office is specifically authorised by the manager for business reasons and should only be occasional.
This makes sense. Much of the approach when it comes to people who choose to move a long way from the office, however, seems to be to treat each case on an individual basis. This may change in time and is certainly something to watch.