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As covid-19 continues to impact us all, we naturally are all considering the future impacts of the year we have had, and what international travel and assignments will look like moving forwards.

To help with these considerations, K2 hosted X2 live webinars, where we shared some of K2’s thinking and research on how to make good decisions on future international working during this period of uncertainty that we all find ourselves in.

This webinar was facilitated by Huw Thomas, K2 Business Development Manager, and presented by Deborah Murphy, Advisory Services Consultant. The webinar provided the opportunity to reflect on what the industry has experienced and what we all collectively face and aimed to provide attendees with some valuable takeaways. At the end of the session, attendees were given the opportunity to ask live questions. For an overview of the questions asked, please see below.

The webinar began by reviewing the multiplicity of challenges faced by employers earlier this year, as well as what we are currently facing now. We looked at what the global mobility/HR world experienced 6-7 months ago, acknowledging that this was a period of chaos and information overload, and reflected upon how global mobility was really leaned upon to support the wider business. We then explored the new challenges we face in the present and identified some repercussions that we may be facing due to the emergency decisions that we made earlier this year. Such decisions, which focussed on supporting employees and ensuring safety, may have led to intricate issues with tax, cost, locations, accommodations, household goods, and other operational tasks, that we are dealing with today. Deborah also explored other challenges, such as cost containment issues, and the increased pressure to be as flexible and adaptable as possible, and how these pressures will have an impact on the way international working continues in the future.

The webinar then looked at the employee perspective, and what the future of international working looks like to them, and why this is important for employers to understand. We reviewed what concerns the employee may be experiencing, and how these may differ compared to before. For example, are individuals feeling more vulnerable, and less willing to take on international opportunities? Do employees have more responsibilities due to this time, in terms of childcare, caring for others? Deborah explained how it’s important to have an understanding of these additional aspects that may be going on in an employee’s life. By not getting it right, there is a possibility of loss of business and the loss of goodwill and trust with our employees.

Deborah then explained some of the K2 industry research findings and drew upon some critical insights that were found. The webinar then looked at the new tool that K2 has developed from this industry research and knowledge. The tool is called the Global Mobility Risk Assessment Pathway, and aims to support global mobility professionals and HR professionals navigate the risks of international working. The comprehensive tool will help to focus the decision making process, when making decisions about international assignments.  For example, whether an assignment should go ahead, whether it should be cut short, whether it should be initiated and in what form, and all the multitude of considerations that will support this decision.

You can learn more about the tool, and how to access it here. 

The session concluded by reviewing some key takeaways from the session, followed by a live Q&A. For an overview of the questions asked, please see below.

The webinar intended to give an overview of the research that K2 has developed regarding international assignments during this time, and how the current environment has affected our usual working practice. If you would like to watch the session you can do so via the link below.

Access the recording of this session here.

Questions recap 

Will the Risk Assessment Pathway be applicable to all size GM programs?

I think it’s applicable whether it’s one person, whether it’s 50 people. What we’ve developed is very comprehensive and you can take it, adjust it and tweak it as needed.

How do we practically access the risk assessment tool?  How will this become available?

To access the Risk Assessment Pathway, please get in touch with your usual account manager, or Huw Thomas directly on

For more information, please visit our Risk Assessment Pathway page.

What do you think are some key considerations and/or risks to consider for a virtual assignment?

If we’re talking of a virtual assignment, where an employee is working in their home country, but they are assigned to a project that’s based in another country, I think the main components to think about are the risks around how the costs are recharged. Presumably, they’re all going to be recharged into the host location. If that is the case then you have to be mindful of any business trips attached to this virtual assignment. It mightn’t be that the tax position, and the immigration position, are likened to a normal sort of business visit. It may be deemed that the time there is deemed more work. That would be something I would say don’t trip over, and just assume is OK. I’d still suggest that you would review that.

If the employee is working at home, from an employment law perspective, or contractual perspective, are they going to be working in a different time zone, so are they going to be doing shift work, or night work? How would you address that and consider that?

Does your Risk Assessment Pathway cover remote working and some of the issues that we’re starting to see which tax legislation and permanent establishments?

The Risk Assessment Pathway doesn’t go into details around whether you need to make contractual changes, or whether you would need to establish a new entity if people are working remotely, internationally.

Have you found that companies are putting in place a remote working policy for employees working remotely from a country other than their country of employment due to COVID?

Yes. There is definitely traction in this area, as people are now working from home and their home may be a different country to their place of work. People are realising that even their employees who aren’t international assignees, but work in a different country to their home, almost become an international worker, just because of the covid-19 situation, because they can no longer work from their normal place of work. Many companies are picking up on this, and there are varying levels of policies surrounding this. Some companies have flexible working policies, but often these are domestic, so the compliance aspects of international remote working is not captured. So this is definitely an important area of consideration.

We are here to help in any way we can

Should you need any additional information, consultation, or guidance, please do contact us as we would be delighted to assist you.

Additionally, if you would like to have a virtual coffee with any of our experts, please contact us we would be happy to arrange this.

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