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.
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.