HR Tech Number of the Week: Where are your employees working? 

In a study conducted by CITE Research on behalf of talent mobility solution provider Topia, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located last year. That number fell to 46% this year. The study also found that 40% of HR leaders discovered employees working from outside their home state or country, and 66% of employees admit to not reporting all the days they work outside their home state or country.

(CITE Research surveyed 1,481 full-time desk workers between December 2021 and January 2022.) 

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What does this mean for HR leaders?

Employees not reporting all the days they are working outside their home state or country can create tax, compliance and safety issues for both the company and employees, according to Jacky Cohen, chief people officer for Topia.

To remain compliant, HR needs to know where employees are working in order to withhold and report the appropriate taxes. “This ensures the company is legally established to employ people in a respective location, and so they can proactively address any business, immigration or tax implications that may arise from people working in certain jurisdictions,” says Cohen. 

Related: HR Tech Number of the Day: The reality of burnout

Beyond compliance, it’s also HR’s role to know where employees are located in case the person’s safety or wellbeing is at risk. “This makes HR leaders’ jobs and overall company operations more complicated, which is why having the right technology in place is critical,” says Cohen. 

With the volume of remote work increasing so significantly, Cohen says, it’s necessary to ensure that adequate company security protocols and trainings are in place to mitigate risk, including for hacking, as much as possible. “This has increased the importance of the relationship between HR and security leaders in every organization,” she says.

The CITE Research and Topia study also found that 49% of HR leaders believe their company lost employees due to an inadequate remote work policy; 41% of workers who switched jobs in 2021 say flexibility to work from home was a reason to change employment. And employees clearly want a say in where they work: 94% agreed that they should be able to work from wherever they want if they can complete their work assignments. 

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.