workingmums.co.uk speaks to CharlieHR about their nomad working policy which allows employees to work outside the UK for 30 days a year.
There has been a lot of focus this week on different employers’ responses to post-pandemic working. Some employers are mainly focused on getting people back to the office while others are being more experimental. Among the latter is CharlieHR which has brought in a nomad working policy, backed up by a 500 pound a year payment to members of staff to cover remote working or other working-related costs.
The policy was brought in as a result of Covid. CharlieHR has several members of staff who come from different countries. During the pandemic they were not able to see their families and friends who lived abroad. The policy allows them to work in another country for up to six weeks a year and spend more time with their families. Employees don’t have to have family members or friends abroad to benefit from the policy, however. Under the policy, anyone in the company has the flexibility to work anywhere they want for up to 30 days a year. The 30-day limit is to avoid tax and legal complications. CharlieHR took legal advice before implementing it last year.
The 500 pound budget was brought in this year to back it up. Employees wanting to benefit from the policy have to give at least a month’s advance notice and tell their team. They can work from any time zone and just need to communicate their availability during working days. The 30 days do not need to be taken in one block. They can be taken in days or full weeks. The company advises anyone going abroad to double check the personal tax implications with an accountant to be on the safe side because different countries have different laws when it comes to taxes and other issues.
Alisa Mistry, HR advice manager, says the company has tweaked the policy as they have gone along. At first, for instance, they said employees based abroad still had to attend company-wide meetings, but due to time zone differences – most meetings are at 10am in the UK – this was impossible. Instead any important information from the company-wide huddles is put on a Slack channel so anyone can access it at any time. Any important meetings are recorded so people can access them at a time that suits them. “We make sure that the way we work includes everyone,” says Alisa.
She anticipates that the policy will be used more over the next year because initially people were worried about flying due to the pandemic. In the last year it has mostly been used by people wanting to see their friends and family. She expects people to use it more and more to travel and explore other places. One colleague, for instance, went to Portugal for a month and worked for three days a week and travelled around for the other four. “People are really enjoying it,” says Alisa. “The way we see it work should be part of life. You can work and make the most of your life. We don’t want work to hold people back.”
The 500 pounds can be used for anything from accommodation costs to food and drink when working in a cafe. Those who prefer to remain in the UK can use it on work from home equipment, wifi or working from a cafe at home. The aim is to ensure that everyone benefits.
CharlieHR has also brought in a nine-day fortnight in the last year. It has been trialling this for the last months and will soon decide whether to make the policy permanent. Alisa says its clients tend to be fairly forward-thinking and welcome the creative ways it is addressing the post-pandemic world of work.
Alisa adds that the nomad working policy works better for companies that already work remotely and don’t require a physical presence. She says more and more of CharlieHR’s clients are adopting different ways of working and see the benefits in terms of talent attraction and retention.
“We hope to inspire others to make work better,” she states.