Énergir puts gas on ‘traces’

One of the cornerstones of this one-year pilot project is the letter of approval. (Photo: Mimi Thean for Unsplash)

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Reveal Mateen. With the holiday season approaching, some of your employees traveling around the world may be tempted to add a few days of work to their vacation or return home.

If the granting of such a privilege requires a great deal of preparation, to minimize cyber threats and tax risks, the exercise can have significant benefits for your team, if we rely on the initial conclusions of Catherine Morel, Business Partner Manager (HR) at Énergir.

For just over eight months, the company of about 1,500 employees has allowed its executives to put away their bags and computers given to them by their employer from Hawaii to Finland for a maximum of thirty days. During her visit to Rendez-vous Relations, the director of this site explained the work of Wessam CRHA.

It is the HR team that decides to allow these remote workers to pack their bags. “If someone has a behavioral problem here, it won’t get better in another country. […] We don’t want to remotely manage someone who doesn’t respect working hours, or doesn’t have regular attendance,” says the boss.

Especially since many of the experts consulted during the development of the scheme for this pilot project strongly advise against imposing disciplinary measures on employees abroad, in order to avoid any conflicts with the labor laws of the country in which it is located.

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Signing a letter of agreement

One of the cornerstones of this one-year pilot project is the letter of agreement that each employee must sign before traveling to their next destination.

In this is a clear description of all the instructions issued by the Organizing Committee, which consulted with a number of experts in taxation, law and cybersecurity, in particular to ensure that the experiment goes smoothly.

They relate to the delivery of the work, the space in which it is to be carried out and the materials provided, company policies and the employment contract, insurances, as well as the tax and immigration obligations of the employee. It also indicates what could end the agreement.

Get well equipped

Energy has already developed several tools to support it. For example, it publishes an intranet page, creates forms, and compiles answers to frequently asked questions into a single document.

An email system has also been launched to inform all concerned parties when an employee is abroad, as well as a tracking table to monitor various data on employees who have traveled.

Additionally, a survey is completed by each “tracker” and their boss to indicate how the experiment is going.

Kathryn Morel recommends that applications submitted no more than six months prior to the intended departure date be accepted. It is difficult, at least for his organization, to assess the workload that will be placed on the team so far.

If a person wants to travel to Morocco, the United States or France for example, the application can be submitted two weeks before the start of the trip. If a country is not already on the list of approved destinations, it will take tax experts three weeks to investigate.

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He took his time

For companies that want to follow suit, Catherine Morell recommends opening the gates gradually. Energy has deliberately made little noise since the launch of this initiative, for fear of overburdening its structure, which is still not used to dealing with this type of request.

“We’d love to take it slow and see how it goes. [… La communication] You no longer go through tools to be consulted online,” specifies a certified industrial relations consultant.

Managing the documentation surrounding these requests is the main challenge for his team. If the project is renewed, it intends to automate these processes.

At the end of June, Catherine Morell estimated that about sixty “trackers” should have been accepted. Thus, the committee behind this pilot project will be able to issue its recommendations to senior management to determine whether, and in what form, the initiative should be formalized.

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