About Flix For Flix, a leader in the mobility sector, the concept of 'work from anywhere' is more than just a policy; it's an integral part of their corporate identity. It would be contradictory for a company that connects people globally with their FlixBuses and FlixTrains to restrict its own employees to a fixed location.
Recognizing the shifting paradigms in the post-pandemic world, the company introduced the “work from manywhere” program. Since July 1st, 2022, Flix' employees have the opportunity to work from almost any location in the world – may it be from their grandma's garden or a sandy beach.
At the end of the pandemic, Flix asked its employees if they would like to work from anywhere. This preliminary survey indicated a very high demand. Given the changes the pandemic brought in our ways of working, combined with the diversity in their team, Flix saw a great opportunity to introduce this program. This, however, brought up new challenges for Flix:
· Accompany rapidly changing employee' needs: The rapid shift to remote work during the pandemic has created a crave for more flexibility among employees. This change in mentality – being able to work from anywhere - left Flix trying to balance complex compliance requirements that have not adjusted to the new working environment with their employees’ increasing desire to work from anywhere. They knew they needed an external solution, to make sure they act 100% compliant.
Forbidding workations was not in the interest of Flix as their international workforce demanded having also the right for an international homeoffice and might have done so - also without permission.
· Ever-changing compliance & legislations: Ensuring adherence to diverse labor laws, tax regulations, and social security mandates was a monumental challenge. Although Flix had a lot of in-house expertise, such as a legal department, tax department, HR - this was a new topic where nobody had already acquired expertise.
· Complex international workforce: With employees coming from over 90 different countries, the legal intricacies of tax laws, labor regulations, and visa requirements got even more complex. This diversity, especially concerning non-EU nationalities, highlighted Flix's need for an external compliance partner.
💡 Solution WorkFlex provided the needed solution for these challenges:
· Individual risk assessment: WorkFlex's tool matched exactly what Flix needed, balancing freedom and compliance. WorkFlex’ compliance logic and automised approach check each work-from-anywhere request individually, making sure Flix is compliant no matter where an employee wants to work or which country they are on payroll on. This careful checking is crucial as Flix has employees from many countries, each with its own set of rules.
· High and up-to-date compliance expertise: With WorkFlex's legal team, Flix doesn't have to constantly monitor changes in legislation.
· User-friendly platform: The WorkFlex platform simplifies the process for Flix. It consolidates all work-from-anywhere requests, prepares necessary documents, and ensures that employees are adequately insured, among other functionalities.
Flix created its “Working from Manywhere” policy, which stated that employees can work from anywhere - up to 60 days in low &medium risk countries and five days in high-risk countries.
The success of WorkFlex's implementation at Flix was evident through:
· Progressive employer branding: By offering global workations, Flix bolstered its image as a forward-thinking employer, catering to the modern needs of its workforce.
· Boosted employee satisfaction: The positive feedback from employees was a testament to the success of the initiative. The ability to work from diverse locations, be it their hometown or a beach, greatly improved their work-life balance and enhanced Flix's reputation as an employee-centric organization, emphasizing flexibility.
· Easier Recruitment through competitive advantage: The work-from-anywhere benefit became a significant perk for potential employees, standing out to new applicants. Especially Gen Z and international talent show high interest in the working model during the recruitment process.
· Reduction of manual effort: Thanks to WorkFlex, employees autonomously submit work-from-anywhere requests. HR is only needed for the final approval, which reduces their efforts to less than 5 minutes per request. No time needed to self-check compliance or to create whole frameworks for non-EU citizens.
· Savings in costs and administrative efforts: Partnering with WorkFlex eliminated the need for extensive research and consultation with tax lawyers, resulting in substantial cost savings. Further, the streamlined processes reduced the administrative burden, allowing Flix to allocate resources to other pivotal projects instead of needing to check the ever-changing compliance regulations for their international workforce.
Recap: Working from Manywhere at Flix with WorkFlex In total, since the beginning of Flix’ Work from Anywhere Policy, employees have worked temporarily from over 80 different countries all around the globe, as the map shows. Alone during this year, Flix' employees worked for 1452 days from 59 different countries.
Most trips were requested by Indian employees (13,40%), closely followed by the Germans (8,87%). Brazilian, US-American, and Egyptian employees were the subsequent frontrunners in making such requests.
The average workation days per annum per employee was 20-25 days. Thus, it is still less than Flix’ policy threshold of 60 days.
At its core, Flix's decision to embrace this model stems from a deep commitment to its employees. The company aims to foster an environment where employees feel valued, understood, and proud to be a part of the organization.
Flix firmly believes in the future of remote work. As the market sees more companies offering such flexibility, it not only sets a new standard but also creates a competitive edge, compelling others to follow suit.
Partnering with WorkFlex has enabled Flix to extend this flexibility even to regions like Asia, Latin America, and Africa, all while maintaining a stringent focus on compliance.
In June of last year, we were finally able to launch our WorkFlex benefit, opening up a whole new world of work for our employees. Gone are the endless, eternally pre-planned trip requests. Since then, the next workation can be planned with just a few clicks. Where have the trips gone so far? We have taken a snapshot of the situation.
Workation. What's behind it?
But first to the origin. What exactly is WorkFlex all about? How can you imagine such an application? And isn't it always associated with tax hurdles?
If the past years have shown us one thing, it is that good work can be done from anywhere! From one day to the next, our private rooms were converted into offices. With the realization that it can be done - and done very well. If the kitchen suddenly becomes the office, why shouldn't it also be the café in Valencia? Or the vacation apartment in Zeeland? Our WorkFlex benefit makes exactly that possible: work from wherever you want - for up to six months a year. With the exception of a few countries that are unfortunately excluded for security reasons, the big wide world is open to you. We are firmly convinced that temporary working from abroad (WFA) is a very attractive benefit that also fits in very well with the current and future situation of mobile working.
Tax, labor and social security pitfalls? Not with us!
Through the WorkFlex benefit, we offer our employees flexible options for temporary work from abroad. Combined with a very simple process. Because without worrying about compliances and compliance (like private taxes, visas, etc.) or other risks, you can plan your next workation. It's as simple as submitting a request through the platform with just a few clicks. WorkFlex then obtains approval from the supervisor(s) and performs a risk assessment of the current situation.Everything fits? Well, then you're ready to go. ✈️
IU's recap: Over one thousand approved workations within the first year!
The figures speak for themselves: A look at the workations applied for last year shows how simple and straight forward such an application is: In the period from June 2022 to June2023, we had a total of no less than 1,000 approved workations at the IU. Whether a long weekend in one of the neighbouring countries or a stay of several weeks or even several months further away. From Australia, Argentina, Trinidad&Tobago or Taiwan: In total, applications to 87 countries around the world were requested and approved last year. The approval rate here was over 95%.
WorkFlex's statistics also show that we are an absolute pioneer when it comes to workation: Various well-known companies were compared in terms of their annual quota of workation days per person. Here it becomes clear once again: With 182possible workation days per year per person, we are right at the top and make remote work what it should be: Self-determined work from anywhere.
For IU, this is a clear sign that they are on the right track and that the benefit is being used well and with pleasure. They are looking forward to the coming year, its destinations and the stories of their employees that go along with it.
Doyou also want a job that adapts to your life? Then come aboard the IU and check in for your next workation very soon. ☀️
TIMOCOM, a leading digital marketplace for transportation orders and live shipment tracking, is dedicated to streamlining its customers' logistics processes and helping them save time and money. But TIMOCOM faced a challenge: implementing workations to meet the growing desire for remote work while taking care of all the compliance topics.
In introducing workations, TIMOCOM faced a number of challenges and obstacles that needed to be overcome:
- Growing demand for remote work: following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees expressed a desire for flexible work options from home. This growing demand for remote work challenged TIMOCOM to provide appropriate solutions to meet employee needs.
- Diverse international workforce: TIMOCOM had a diverse workforce with employees from more than 34 nations. This resulted in complex legal requirements, including tax laws, social security regulations, labor laws, and residence and visa requirements. Addressing these legal issues and ensuring compliance were major challenges for the company.
- Compliance concerns: Due to different regulations in different countries, it was difficult for TIMOCOM to offer workations without violating compliance guidelines. Complying with legal requirements and regulations related to labor law, taxes, and social security was a complex task to manage.
- Operational considerations: TIMOCOM also had to consider operational aspects of workation management. This included determining the number of days offered for workations, supporting employees with family members and second homes abroad, and ensuring smooth operations during employee absences.
TIMOCOM made the decision to use WorkFlex as its workation management software:
- Employer Branding: the introduction of global workations played a significant role in increasing TIMOCOM's employer brand. Through this innovative way of working, the company was able to strengthen its attractiveness and reputation as a modern and progressive employer.
- Employee retention and satisfaction: An internal survey showed that more than 50% of employees were very interested in using Workations. WorkFlex's solution exactly met the employees' needs for flexibility and work-life balance.
- Skills shortage: As an IT company, TIMOCOM was continuously looking for qualified IT professionals.The option of Workations positioned the company as a highly attractive employer in the market, which in turn helped attract highly qualified talent.
- Compliance Support & Liability: WorkFlex provided clear assessments of compliance risks for each individual application & handled all complex compliance tasks such as the creation of A1 certificates and the provision of comprehensive travel insurance for all employees. In the event of complications, WorkFlex took care of the financial liability as well as professional support with official procedures. This gave TIMOCOM the confidence to easily send employees worldwide without having to worry about legal stumbling blocks.
📈 Success measurement
The measurement of success of the introduction of WorkFlex at TIMOCOM was based on various indicators:
- Improvement of employer branding: Workations played a significant role in increasing TIMOCOM's employer brand. WorkFlex's flexibility and support for work-life balance helped position the company as a modern and employee-oriented employer.
- Increase employee retention and satisfaction: employees were excited about the ability to use Workations to see their families more often and improve their work-life balance. Positive feedback from employees confirmed the success of the measure. Annual employee surveys showed a significant increase in employee satisfaction after implementing WorkFlex . The flexible work arrangements and the option of using workations contributed to employee retention and motivation.
- Recruiting success: As an IT company, TIMOCOM benefited from Workations as an attractive offering for potential skilled employees. The ability to work remotely and use Workations helped attract qualified IT talent faster and position the company as an attractive employer.
- Time and resource savings: By working with WorkFlex, TIMOCOM did not have to spend valuable resources on researching and handling the complex processes. Intensive research and the use of expensive (tax) lawyers were no longer necessary. This saved a great deal of costs. In addition, the automated processes and the support provided by WorkFlex significantly reduced the amount of work involved in processing and managing workations. There is now a clear process for each request for mobile working abroad. The intuitive and user-friendly WorkFlex platform made it effortless for any employee to go through the process and provide the required information. The time spent on the Timocom has been reduced to 10 minutes per week. This increase in efficiency allowed TIMOCOM to save both time and resources, which could be used for other important projects.
The introduction of WorkFlex at TIMOCOM brought revolutionary changes for employees and the company as a whole. Workations allowed employees to be more flexible in their work environment and achieve a better work-life balance. WorkFlex's support for legal and compliance requirements enabled TIMOCOM to easily manage mobile working requests overseas for its international workforce while minimizing compliance risks. The positive impact of Workations on employee satisfaction, employer branding and talent acquisition was clear. TIMOCOM was able to save valuable resources and increase efficiency, while WorkFlex provided transparency, risk assessment and a user-friendly platform. Overall, the TIMOCOM and WorkFlex collaboration demonstrated how innovative workations can transform the world of work and provide real value to companies and their employees.
i2x is one of the leading German AI companies founded by the studyVZ ex-CEO Michael Brehm, which helps sales and customer support agents to excel at their job, by giving live guidance and suggestions during customer calls. As an agile company, i2x worked this past year on building up a safe, stable, and compliant flexible working environment. How? By taking the lead in allowing employees to work from abroad while being fully legally protected and using WorkFlex to manage that.
Win new employees in the competitive market
Company-wide workation strategy allowed by WorkFlex
Work from abroad accessible to 100% of employees
Every employee can work from abroad safely:
90 days within the EU
30 days outside of the EU
Looking at the workation policy it is safe to say that i2x is taking the lead in terms of flexible work for all employees. While seeing that working outside of the office was/is mandatory, its employees from 19 different nationalities – from Columbia to China – started wishing for more work location freedom: being able to stay where their families are while not having to take their full vacation at once. After the company saw the need and the possibility of working from abroad they decided to step out of the workation grey zone and embrace a safe company mobility policy.
The i2x team and Narmatha Ravinthiran, the head of people and organization, got ahead with it and introduced WorkFlex, a solution that enables temporary work from abroad, in three easy steps in their company.
How? While signing their work contract, new employees also sign an amendment agreement which sets the framework of their workations’ possibilities: How and when to use a VPN? What type of password should be used? How to be fully GDPR compliant?
All aspects in regards to social legislation that are key to i2x but also to their clients which have the right of security too. From day one, employees are ensured to work abroad, within and outside of Europe and i2x could ensure a new company mobile work strategy while stopping one-to-one on-demand requests. In this process, WorkFlex takes care of all the compliance aspects of their workation requests.
Benefits of introducing WorkFlex
Attractive mental health benefit: alongside other mental health benefits such as meditation or sports apps, workations strongly support employee wellbeing and mental health;
Tremendous asset in job offers;
A work-from-abroad policy with clearly set rules and frameworks: no more headaches due to case-by-case discussions.
Freedom to work from everywhere compliantly and securely
No need to use up all vacation days to visit family abroad or work from a dream destination: one can do it while continuing to work remotely
A proof that your company indeed trusts you
Extra motivation and engagement
“One of the greatest benefits I get from WorkFlex as a Head of HR is that I no longer have to read through an agreement of 270 pages on Brexit in order to say whether the person can go work in London or not. Using WorkFlex is a great relief in my responsibilities: the framework conditions of the workplaces are fully set out in a compliant way. We only have to follow the framework, no more case-by-case requests that take a lot of my time. HR pains are gone in this regard and it is great to see the satisfaction of our employees!”
Narmatha Ravinthiran, Head of People and Organization at i2x
Enpal, is a B2C solar panels installation company group, headquartered in Berlin, that encounters multiple HR challenges, so they are quite interested in finding solutions to lighten their workload and processes while being ensured to stay fully compliant. In short: they need simplicity wherever they can get it!
Flexible work is a complex legal matter. Sure, from an employee perspective, working from abroad seems simple: a computer and the internet are enough to do the job! The other (HR)-side though, is more complex and does involve a lot of legal background to solve the new way of working. Companies across the globe are facing an iceberg when it comes to this topic, and so is Enpal. Most importantly, the group wanted to stay competitive in the employee benefits they provide but also not go wild and be later surprised by unpleasant tax revelations.
Now with the pandemic happening, employees revealed their need to work from their home countries for a longer time or find the possibility to work elsewhere. In fact, a modern problem for a modern company policy. Once introducing their new mobile work policy and opening up the possibility to work some time from abroad, especially before Christmas time, Enpal received more and more requests from their employees. Without any previous legal knowledge on this matter, the HR department had to get in touch with tax and labor lawyers: they needed the legal and compliance knowledge to be able to provide the needed flexibility.
Before using WorkFlex, Enpal consulted labor tax lawyers to get a general understanding on possibilities to temporarily work from abroad. Employees had to submit a request via a pdf form, which would then be reviewed manually: a quite complex and highly time-consuming process.Enpal has now the roots to set a strong work policy in place and employees can easily request to work from abroad. An automatic risk assessment and application for social security certificates ensures a limited exposure to compliance risks. The process is efficient, transparent and easy-to-use for all company stakeholders.
Cost efficient in comparison to heavy tax lawyers services’ costs
Strong employee benefit
Lever to set the first stone to create a company-wide WfA company policy
“Before the pandemic, we didn’t even think about this working from abroad, flexibility level. It was quite a challenge to handle all the sudden work-from-abroad requests. With WorkFlex we can now offer our employees the possibility to request work from abroad through easy-to-use software. Now I can confidently say that we are a well-positioned company when it comes to work from abroad.“
Scout24 is one of the leading digital companies in Germany and home of ImmoScout24. With its 20 million users every month ImmoScout24 successfully brings together homeowners, real estate agents, tenants, and buyers.
Now, how did the company embrace the changing way of working for its employees?
850 employees globally
Main markets: Germany and Austria
As was the case for millions of companies worldwide, working from somewhere else than the office, also from abroad, became a huge consideration for Scout24 when the pandemic did hit. Fast forward two years and, Scout24 is seeking to formalise flexible arrangements without running the risk of breaking international tax or labour regulations. Hence, implementing the opportunity to work from abroad. Since at Scout24 the opportunity to work from abroad is given, it was important to create very clear regulations which supported the overall strategy.
Flexible or at least hybrid work was now in everybody’s mind and companies needed to align. So did Scout24. They made a point of giving their employees an additional benefit that allowed employees the flexibility to work from abroad, which had to be based on clear processes and regulations.
Under normal circumstances, if an employee is working more than 183 days abroad, taxes must be paid in this country, however this was relaxed by many countries during the pandemic. Arrangements for cross-border workers (Konsultationsvereinbarungen) that took place during the pandemic were temporarily limited.
Scout24 got in touch with WorkFlex because they were aware of the potential to allow “working from anywhere”. And with the help of WorkFlex, allowances could have automatic risk assessments, issuance of A1 certificates and more. Now, Scout 24 employees can request working from abroad up to three months each year within the European Economic Area and up to one month from outside of it.
Positive feedback from the employees: work-from-abroad requests are increasing and the official request process enables full clarity for all parties.
Tax- and compliance-friendly: the legal and tax teams can count on a fully proficient documentation follow-up. The teams can also access the risk assessments easily making it a great decision-making tool.
Time savings thanks to an automatic risk assessment.
Professionalism and automation: requests are facilitated.
“At Scout24, we decided early on to embrace the new world of work through flexible working and to strengthen the work-life balance of our employees. With WorkFlex, we are providing the right tool to support our strategy. Requests for working abroad are automated and now part of our way of working. We improved tax and legal compliance respectively. Thanks to the first-class service, we can respond more quickly to the wishes of our employees, which means that they can start actively planning and designing stays abroad more quickly without having to think about it too much.”