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Last updated: 3rd December, 2020

expats, international living

Why work from home when you can work from anywhere?

If we can all work from home these days, why not work from anywhere: like somewhere warm and sunny? We teamed up with pollsters YouGov and asked Britons what they wanted – and what it would take – to work from abroad. Let’s look at the results…

One consequence of the global response to combat Covid-19 has been the rise of working from home. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from your kitchen table – or by the plunge pool – most national governments have required you to do so since lockdowns began in March this year.

In the nine months since then, the world of employment has been upended and many jobs which employers never thought portable could be done securely and efficiently from homes. Sure, this has further blurred the line between work and home life, but many workers have been grateful to earn an income and stay safe by staying at home.

But with rolling lockdowns likely until widespread vaccinations take place, many workers have been taking the idea of job portability to new heights by working from abroad, and by that we mean from places they’d rather be. No logging on from damp ground floor flats, by grey-sky lit picture windows or next to a cranky radiator – these people are by the beach in Malaga, looking over verdant fields in Puglia and perhaps shielding views of the Alps from their regular Zoom calls.

They’re Working from Anywhere, and today we can reveal all-new research with YouGov that shows 1 in 16 people employed in the UK are planning to work from abroad – from anywhere – for at least some of the coming year, prompted in large part by the ongoing pandemic and on-again, off-again lockdowns.

We’re expanding our work-from-home horizons

In October, we commissioned YouGov to survey more than 1,200 employed UK adults about where and how they might work from abroad, and 45% said that they could do their job just as well from abroad, although 19% said that they could only do so if they stayed in the same time zone.

“For many, remote working need not mean homeworking. With almost half agreeing that they could do their jobs just as well from abroad, we’re expecting more people than ever to pack up their laptops and work from a more exotic location this Christmas and into 2021,” says Victoria Yasinetskaya, chief marketing officer at PagoFX.

1 in 16 employed UK adults, equating to more than 1.9 million workers, said that with the pandemic in mind, they were now either fairly or very likely to work from abroad. This rises to 1 in 10 Londoners who say they plan to work from abroad at some point over Christmas or in the coming year.

Some are also taking the opportunity to have a working gap year, with 14% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old and in employment planning to work from abroad during 2021.

Our research also found that once people had worked abroad before, they were more likely to do so again. Of those that have worked abroad in the past, 1 in 5 are planning to do so again in the coming year.

The survey also investigates what Brits look for in a perfect Work from Anywhere destination. The top three most important requirements were a fast and reliable internet connection (seen as a top priority by 64%), access to quality medical services (53%) and warm, sunny weather (44%). Where there is a fast internet connection, a nearby hospital, and great weather, Brits are likely to be found with their laptops.

“Thanks to the latest technology, there are fewer obstacles than ever before, from easy and reliable video calls, to fast and secure international money transfer services,” Victoria says.

“For more of us than ever, geography, technology and currency are no longer a barrier to working from anywhere in the world.”

If we can work from anywhere – what’s holding us back?

There are plenty of obstacles to living the Work from Anywhere life, sadly. 19% said that childcare requirements would get in the way, while 14% said they need to stay in the UK to look after their parents. 15% also didn’t like the idea of having to potentially self-isolate on arriving at their destination.

Currency differences and transferring money abroad were also perceived as potential obstacles to working abroad. 11% see being paid in a different currency to the one they need day-to-day as a potential problem, while 6% worry about the need to send money abroad – seeing money transfer as a potentially new and uncomfortable habit they’ll need to make. Happily, PagoFX has a solution right on these pages.

Methodology:
Survey of 1,239 working UK adults over 18. Research conducted in association with YouGov online between 30 September and 1 October 2020.