Relocating remote worker pulling a laptop from a packing box

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Have you been dreaming of moving to another country? Maybe you just want to move to another state or province? Or perhaps your life circumstances have changed and you need to move to be closer to family.

For many people, one of the only things standing in the way of a relocation is also one of the most important things — their job. According to Remote’s Global Workforce Revolution Report, 81% of tech workers said they would relocate if it wouldn’t impact their job prospects and careers. 

With recent changes in the workforce triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, workers and businesses everywhere have begun to reimagine what it means to work. Employees proved they don’t need to be in an office from 9 to 5 each day to be productive and trustworthy. Remote work is a proven success, and more flexible work practices have become the expectation rather than the exception. 

But what about those employees who want to move to a new place (or those who already made the move during the pandemic)?

In a 2021 report, real estate marketplace Zillow found that more than one in 10 American adults moved during the pandemic, primarily because of remote work. But with some employers asking workers to return to the office soon, employees are wondering what will happen.

Will employees have to sacrifice their new lifestyle? Will they be forced to relocate back to their old area to keep their job? Meanwhile, other remote workers are planning extended trips abroad or long-term moves back to their home countries. 

If this is you, you may be wondering how to broach the subject of relocation or travel with your employer. 

Fortunately, it is possible to keep your job remotely, even if you’re moving to another country. All that’s required is buy-in from the company you work for and some planning to ensure you make the right legal and practical preparations. Remote can help you and your employer to allow you to work from another country (even if your company has never operated in that country before!). 

To help you understand the requirements and simplify the research process, we’ve collected five of the most important considerations you need to keep your job and stay compliant when relocating.

1. Make sure you have the legal right to work.

First, talk to your boss about your plans and be prepared to advocate for yourself to stay remote. If you haven’t done so yet, check out our Choose Remote Toolkit, where we’ve outlined 10 steps to help you make your case for flexible work and collected all the information you need to know to relocate using Remote.

Once you’ve come to an understanding with your employer, you need to consider your right to work in the place where you intend to work.

Having the right to work in a location means you are legally authorized to work there, either as a citizen or through another type of status that grants you permission. When you live and work in a place, that country, state, or province will want to collect taxes from your pay. If you’re working somewhere where you do not have the legal right to work and are not paying the appropriate taxes, both you and your employer could be at serious risk. Even if your employer allows your work to be done from “anywhere,” there’s a good chance the tax office of your new local government will have other ideas. 

If you or your employer have questions about visas or compliance in another country, our team at Remote is here to help. Contact our team to talk through your specific scenario.

2. Update your employment agreement for full compliance.

If your visa or citizenship is already in order, the next step is to consider your employment agreement.

Labor laws are complicated and can vary not only from country to country but even state by state or province by province. This means the terms of your employment will certainly be different if you’re relocating to another country, but they may also change even if you’re moving to another state or region.

Depending on the size of your employer, they probably don’t have a locally owned business entity that could legally hire you in your new location. There’s a good chance your employer might not be familiar with the unique local requirements. In such situations, the best approach is to transfer your employment agreement to an employer of record (EOR). 

EORs like Remote take the burden of compliance, payroll, benefits, and more off your employer for a monthly service fee. This is the most stress-free path for continuing your employment when relocating.

It’s as simple as your boss signing up with Remote and onboarding you as an employee. The overall experience is seamless, and even though you’ll be legally employed by Remote on paper, you’ll still be a member of your team, just like always. Your day-to-day operations as a member of your team will not change.

Another option is to continue working with your company as a contractor (1099 in the U.S.). This comes with some significant changes for you as a worker, as it means you are self-employed and have to figure out your own benefits, tax obligations, and more. 

For your employer, there may be risks (such as misclassification or permanent establishment) depending on the nature of your engagement and the country where you’ll be residing. These are all things to consider when evaluating your new employment arrangement. To make contractor management and payments easy, Remote also offers a contractor platform available to workers in 170+ countries.

3. Make a plan with your team.

Once legalities are out of the way, make a plan to ensure the transition goes smoothly for you and your organization. One of the biggest challenges to consider is any potential time difference. 

Amanda Rock, a customer advocacy manager at Remote, decided to move home from Hong Kong to the US while working at her previous job. Her employer was concerned about her ability to interface with clients in Asia from Philadelphia, but they developed a plan for how she would adjust her schedule to still be able to support them. She also saw a growing business opportunity in the American market and suggested that she spend part of her time working with those clients in her new time zone.  

“We planned the transition carefully, which was key. Once I moved, we found that my new schedule actually worked well for both me and the business, and my employer was reassured that I was still able to perform at a high level from another country. I even got a promotion in the process!”

Before relocating, make sure you understand your employer’s expectations for your role, your output, and when you need to be available (assuming your organization isn’t already embracing asynchronous work). Try to get this all in writing to remove all doubt that you are continuing to perform well from your new location. 

4. Prepare your new work environment.

Sure, a tropical island sounds like a great place to move or travel to while working remotely. But have you thought about the WiFi? Some of the biggest challenges managers report having to deal with when employees relocate are related to instability in their new work environment or distractions. 

Before you hop on a plane and leave, get answers to these questions:

  • What is internet connectivity like there? 
  • Will I be able to make video calls and work effectively?
  • Will I have access to a comfortable work environment?
  • Will social distractions prevent me from continuing to excel in my work? 
  • How long will it take for me to settle in and be back on my game professionally?

If you’re looking for a great place to move where you can thrive as a remote worker, check out our Best Destinations for Remote Work! We searched the globe to find the best destinations for remote workers based on seven of the most important factors for remote work success. You can customize your own list based on your priorities. These destinations are specifically tailored to remote workers, so no matter where you go on the list, you’ll be sure to enjoy a great remote work experience. 

5. Build a foundation to maintain key relationships.

So you’ve relocated and things are going smoothly. The only question that remains is how can you maintain great relationships with your colleagues without having that synchronized timezone and quality face-to-face time?

Just like with any other relationship, the key is making an effort. You’ll have to use new strategies when remote, especially if everyone else is back at the office. 

Nadia Vatalidis, VP of people at Remote, advises that remote colleagues and managers should try to lead conversations with a personal check-in. 

“Start conversations in one-on-one calls or over Slack about family, weekends, life things, and just ask how people are doing. To have a healthy work environment and maintain relationships remotely, it’s important to be people-first. These casual check-ins can make a big difference.”

To socialize remotely, you can also encourage informal calls that anyone can join to catch up. You might also set up some virtual games, coffee chats, or meal breaks. 

If you’re angling for a promotion in the future but worried about being overlooked, there are ways to combat this as well. Keep your work and successes clearly documented and make extra effort to share them publicly and regularly so you continue to get recognized within the organization. 

How to share Remote with your employer

At Remote, we are building the foundation for a future of work where your location won’t be a barrier to your employment. If you’re ready to make a move (or have already done so), Remote can help your employer continue to hire you legally and compliantly in your new country, state, or province through our employer of record (EOR) services. We can even assess your visa options with you!

If you’re ready to talk to your employer about your move, we’ve developed a simple template pitch explaining Remote’s services and how it can make the transition seamless for everyone: 

As you already know, I’ve been preparing to relocate. One thing I’ve been determined to figure out is a way to keep my job, because I really value working here.

If you’d be willing to keep me on as a remote worker, I’ve discovered a way that we can make it work legally in my new location with no extra effort required from the business side! Remote is an employer of record service that can legally hire me on your behalf.

It’s simple to transition my employment contract over to them, all you have to do is sign up on their website at Remote.com and onboard me as an employee. Remote handles everything else, from compliance to payroll to benefits, for a monthly service fee.

By working with Remote, I could continue in my role instead of you having to replace me.

Our global hiring team is always available to answer questions, so get started with your planning now and let Remote help you manage your relocation with safest, speed, and ease. Remember to check out our Choose Remote Toolkit to help you make your case for flexible work and collect all the information you need to know to relocate using Remote.