There’s been a few stories recently about companies backtracking on flexible working initiatives (unlimited holiday being just one example of when things didn’t pan out quite as expected because employees actually ended up taking less holiday!). It’s therefore nice to see Spotify reporting the success of its “Work From Anywhere” initiative and the positive impact that this is having both on the happiness of the workforce (staff turnover is down 15% on 2019) and on its diversity and inclusion agenda (allowing employees to work from anywhere has meant that the company can recruit from wider areas and therefore target different communities).

Whilst it's great that Spotify has had such success with the initiative, we shouldn't forget that it is a company worth billions of dollars, with offices in 43 countries. It therefore has the resources to invest into such a scheme and is likely to be more familiar with cross-jurisdictional working. For businesses which have previously only had employees located in one or two countries, the legal implications of "working from anywhere" can come as a bit of a surprise and the factors which need to be considered can be more onerous that originally anticipated. Businesses need to consider things like the employment rights that employees may have in different countries; the personal and corporation tax implications; any visa requirements, and what working flexibly means for data protection. This isn't me being a "downer'' on what appears to be a great initiative from Spotify; I am all for flexibility, particularly when it positively impacts DEI objectives. However, it's important for businesses to be aware that working from anywhere is not simply a matter of an employee jumping on a plane and opening their laptop when they get to their destination! It can be done, and Spotify is proof that it can work and it can have amazing results, it may just need a little bit more thought than expected…