Picture the scene: it’s the depths of January in London and you’re trying to remember the last time you felt warmth or saw blue sky. Who wouldn’t want to be working from a sunny locale in another country?
Given the huge shift towards remote work sparked by the pandemic and the digital nomad boom, it’s easier than ever to make that dream a reality. Companies are far more comfortable giving employees more flexibility, autonomy and freedom to roam greener pastures (or coworking spaces).
We’ve rounded up a few of the UK startups striving to make working abroad easier for their employees. Many of these startups’ employees are British citizens that can only spend a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period in the EU without a working visa.
It’s important to note here that many companies are remote-first or fully remote, but employees are often obliged to work remotely from their home countries so can't be fully mobile.
If there are any others you think should be added to this list, please let us know at email@example.com.
YuLife — digital life insurance provider
YuLife has an office in London, but it allows its employees to work from pretty much anywhere — whether that’s at home or abroad — without restriction.
It operates asynchronously and has flexible working hours, meaning employees can set their own schedules.
YuLife also offers those who want to work from home a budget (dependent on the employee’s individual needs) for office furniture, supplies and tech equipment.
Qatalog — a remote work hub
Qatalog — which has team members across five continents — allows its employees to work 100% remotely in their home countries if they wish.
UK employees that want to work from abroad can for up to 180 days a year — after that employees’ tax status changes and they may have to pay taxes in the country they’re temporarily residing in. It would also impact the visa status of international staff on a UK working visa.
Qatalog takes a case-by-case approach for those who want to go full digital nomad and travel and work indefinitely.
Heroes — Amazon aggregator
Heroes lets staff work from anywhere for 180 days per year.
During the rest of the year, employees can work from anywhere in their home country. But Heroes does have offices in London, Manchester, Madrid, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Rome, Milan and Berlin should staff want to work with colleagues in person.
Zopa — digital bank offering deposit accounts and credit cards
Zopa allows staff to work for up to 120 days abroad with no change to their compensation. It offers employees suggestions of 13 "fuss-free" locations across Europe, North America and Asia where there would be no impact to tax arrangements.
10% of Zopa’s 500+ employees used this perk within the first 65 days of its launch in May.
Flipdish — food ordering platform
Flipdish is fully remote, but it also has offices (that are dog-friendly!) in Dublin, New York, London and Paris for staff to work from if they choose. It also allows employees to work from anywhere for up to 90 days per year.
The company works flexible hours, meaning employees can choose their own schedules. Most team meetings take place between 10am and 4pm UK time.
Flexa — flexible jobs search engine
Flexa is remote-first, but it has an office in London for employees to make use of if they wish.
It allows employees to work from a different country for up to 45 days per year — with the option of adding this chunk of time onto annual leave if they want to be away for longer.
Some other perks:
- Flexa works core hours of 11am-3pm UK time — outside that, employees start and finish whenever they want to fit around local time zones.
- Employees meet once a month, usually in London on a Thursday in a coworking space, followed, naturally, by a pub trip. If team members live outside of London then Flexa pays for travel and accommodation costs.
Paddle — payments solution for SaaS startups
Paddle lets staff to work from anywhere for six weeks per year — with the added benefit of £250 worth of Airbnb credits towards the cost of doing so.
The company operates with fully flexible hours; employees choose when and where they work, and they’re given an allowance for remote working for office supplies and stationery.
Juro — contract automation software
Juro describes its work policy as "choice first". It has physical office spaces in London and Riga but gives every employee free reign on if and when they come in. Team members hotdesk so that when remote workers come to the office, they feel as part of the team as the frequent officegoers.
54% of Juro’s UK employees work totally remotely from all sorts of cities and countries, and the company doesn't limit where employees work from unless absolutely necessary.
Juro also covers or sponsors relocation for employees depending on factors such as the employee’s role at the company, how long they've worked there and whether the employee is moving closer to one of its offices.
Regarding benefits, Juro has different benefits packages for remote versus office-based employees.
- Remote workers get a budget for home office equipment and WiFi costs;
- Mostly office-based workers get support for commuting costs and access to social events.
Omnipresent — helps companies hire, pay and support remote teams
Omnipresent allows its team to work from anywhere in the world (with some exceptions) and employs 400 people in 53 countries.
It supports employees with relocation, taking care of the compliance, payroll and benefits.
AltoVita — corporate accommodation platform
Altovita has a fully remote workforce, allowing its 49 employees to work from anywhere in a western European or eastern US time zone, depending on the role and where the core department sits.
This ensures that employees have the flexibility of working remotely, while still having overlap with their colleagues. For example, Altovita's VP of Marketing is based in the Eastern US, so the company is recruiting for marketing roles in an Eastern US or Western European timezone to ensure greater connectivity within the team.
Altovita offers employees a tech budget to purchase equipment needed to work from anywhere — and holds an in-person offsite every two quarters to allow team members to bond. Company offsites usually take place in London at the moment, but in the future, they could be anywhere in the world.
Olio — food waste app
Olio is a fully remote company with employees spread across Latin America, Europe and Asia. Team members can work in countries outside the one where they are based up to 180 days a year, and Olio pays for them to have a coworking space in the location of their choice.
Other benefits for Olio employees include a budget for office furniture and technology, and various in-person social events that occur throughout the year: such as its an annual three night retreat in the UK for all team members, and two-night functional team events which occur twice a year.
Correction: Flexa was originally identified as a company providing employee survey tech. This has now been changed to 'flexible jobs search engine.'