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January 2021 4 minutes

3 Reasons why managing an international team got more complicated

COVID-19 has changed the way companies work and due to that the management of international teams has never been as complex as it is now.

The survey we conducted on the Future Of International Teams has demonstrated that one of the main trends for 2021 is the internationalization of teams and businesses alike. From an increase in the use of different employment options for international employees to the opening up of hubs in varied locations, correctly managing decentralized teams has become a pressing issue within companies. With this in mind, what are the three main reasons why managing international teams has become so complicated?  

Keeping track of employee’s locations and border crossings during WFH

Throughout the previous year, companies were forced to change their set-up to work-from-home and remote work, which led to many employees taking advantage of this opportunity as a means to work from different locations - even if just temporarily. 

Due to this, companies are now facing a challenge they didn’t have before: knowing exactly where their employees are based at all times. From knowing if their employee is working from another EU-country for a few weeks, or if he or she moved to another country for a period of some months, or even if they are traveling the world and moving locations every few weeks, to permanently changing their location to a different country, the ever-changing location is something that HR professionals must be informed about.

Not only is it now imperative that HR keeps track of where their employees are working from and for how long, but it is also crucial that the employment options are adapted to these new realities, especially when it comes to remaining compliant with respect to taxes, social security, health insurance, and so forth.

Choose the right employment option and know about the associated risk

From the moment your employees are working in different locations, it becomes imperative that you have a plan in place to ensure that each case is assessed individually in line with company policy. This process becomes easier when it comes to new hires, however, HR professionals shouldn’t forget that their current employees’ cases should also be reassessed every time there is a change in location.

Each country has its own set of unique legislations, from differences in how social security and income taxes are calculated and paid, to health insurance, and even data protection. With this in mind, it’s now the time to set up a plan that allows you to not only keep track of the changes that need to be made, but that also allows you to have a regular analysis of the current situation of each employee.

Building on the above, it becomes clear that situations are very individual and thus it’s very complex for HR professionals to keep track of every single change in location and, consequently, local legislation.

As a company, you need to consider the available employment options and assess which options you want to make available to your employees, considering the wishes and situations of the employees but also all associated risks with the various employment options.

Ensure legal status and tax compliance

Aligned with the two previous challenges, ensuring the legal status and tax compliance of each of your decentralized employees becomes one of the most important tasks HR professionals will have to do. As such, it is crucial that HR stays up to date with local legislation and respective duties and obligations for every single employee. 

Some examples of considerations to be made include ensuring social security contributions and taxes are being paid or withhold correctly, confirming the need or lack thereof of health insurance policies, guaranteeing that the number of holidays and sick leave are aligned with the local labour legislation, among others.

Considering these three points, it is easy to understand how tracking the location and employment status of each of your employees becomes crucial for success.

Wondering how to stay on top of things?

While it might seem like there is an endless amount of work to be done in order to stay on top of things and to remain compliant when managing international teams, the truth is that there are tools that can help you keep track of your employees, their employment status and respectively enable you to stay compliant. Our software was built precisely with the aim of enabling the management of international teams. Request a demo or schedule a free consultation to see how we can help!

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