Singapore employers urged to be clear on allowing remote work overseas

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Singapore employers urged to be clear on allowing remote work overseas

Employers in Singapore are advised to make it clear on whether they permit working remotely overseas as new research revealed that one in two Singaporeans are confident that they could.

Findings from ADP Research Institute's People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View revealed that more than 50% of employees in Singapore believe their companies allow remote relocation. This number even significantly goes up for employees in the Media/Information Security, which is at 88%.

Among these respondents, nearly 30% said they "assume" they can work from anywhere because of their organisation's current flexible working policy.

Yvonne Teo, vice president of HR, APAC, ADP, advised employers to be explicit to staff if they allow remote relocation.

"Employers must make it clear to workers whether working from abroad is permissible or not, and in what circumstances, and be prepared to deal with any requests to work overseas that may arise," Teo said in a statement.

According to Teo, those who will allow it will have to consider some "administrative constraints."

"Given tax and compliance regulations, employers will have to think carefully about whether this is something they would be comfortable allowing," Teo said. "There may be security and logistical issues, such as providing safe access to company networks."

But there are also benefits to allowing employees to work overseas.

"Companies can retain talent if they must relocate for personal reasons; benefit from a multi-nation perspective; as well as take advantage of time zones to maximise production," Teo said.

Flexibility is going global

The findings reflect the varying demands for flexibility in Singapore, where the government has been encouraging flexible work arrangements to support work-life balance.

ADP's findings revealed that 69% of businesses there already allow varying levels of flexibility when to comes to working from home and in the office. In fact, 36% of employees who believe they can relocate and work remotely said their organisation has a work-from-anywhere policy that allows overseas locations.

This recent confidence on remote relocation among Singapore employees could indicate how the demand for flexibility is going global.

"That fact that half of the Singapore workers believe that they can relocate overseas while working for the same company suggests that flexibility is emerging as a highly sought-after workplace benefit," Teo said.

"In roles where it's possible to work remotely, especially in the Media/Information industry which does not always require a physical presence, this concept takes on an increasingly international perspective."

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