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Europe’s hottest tech firms are betting new work-from-anywhere policies will win the talent war

  • European tech firms are launching work-from-anywhere policies.
  • Billing startup Paddle joins Spotify and Revolut in allowing employees to work overseas.
  • Hundreds of employees now have the option to work from anywhere for up to 45 days a year.

How we work has undergone enormous change during the pandemic, as office workers shifted from their desks to their dining tables.

As companies map out the return to work, more are opting to allow their staffs to work from anywhere in a bid to retain and win talent.

Revolut this month revealed its “digital nomad” plan, allowing its 2,000 employees to work from anywhere for up to two months a year. A Spanish employee told Insider the policy made Revolut stand out from competitors.

Spotify’s “my work mode” policy allows employees to choose which city they work from and how often they go into the office, if at all. The firm’s human-resources execs wrote that the policy would “help tap into new talent pools” while retaining current employees.

Software startup Paddle is offering six weeks from anywhere

London-based Paddle provides billing services to software startups and was founded by Thiel fellow Christian Owens. It’s the latest to offer a work-from-anywhere policy.

The company is rolling out its “navigate” policy, allowing employees to log in from overseas for up to six weeks a year. The program was driven by internal surveys in which bosses asked the 150-person workforce how it wanted to work.

Paddle, which has raised $93 million in funding to date, has run six surveys in the past six months.

Chief people officer David Barker told Insider the surveys help the firm understand what its workforce wants.

The company is also moving to asynchronous communication, where meeting notes will be taken and circulated for staff to tap into at a time that best suits them.

It will still provide a physical space for those who want it and is set to open a site on the US East Coast and to move into a new space in the UK, with presences in other markets as well.

Barker hopes becoming a “forward-thinking employer” will help attract and retain diverse talent pools that “truly represent us and who we are.”

“If our new hybrid-working strategies mean we become more attractive to future Paddlers, then this is obviously a great bonus as well,” he said. 

There are some caveats, though. 

“We’re putting a bit of a parameter,” Barker said. “The East Coast is going to be minus-five hours in terms of time zone, and then we’re probably going to go to plus three.”

This means employees can work only within specific time zones. A manager and their direct report could have eight hours between them, so the company is restructuring its task-approval process to ensure workflow is not affected. 

Tax and Brexit implications add further complexity.

“We don’t yet necessarily know the implications of Brexit, from our side,” Barker said, referring to the freedom of movement from the UK after leaving the European Union. The current guidance is that people can work in a European country for up to three months, he said.

And the fact an employee is connected remotely to Paddle’s UK base and working entirely in a virtual environment could still mean overseas taxes will be involved, Barker said.

He hopes to recruit someone to look after Paddle’s remote workforce but said the company is “not at that stage yet.”

Stevie Buckley, interim VP at publishing tech startup Permutive and a longtime tech talent recruiter, said fully remote work wasn’t for everyone — but that publicizing work-from-anywhere policies was a clear talent advantage.

“The key to attracting talent is very simple,” he said. “The more eyeballs you get on your opportunities, the more applications you’ll receive. Capitalizing on an obvious industry shift is smart.”

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