Running a hybrid company is hard
Running a remote-only company is relatively easy, and running a “local offices” based company is relatively easy. Running a hybrid company is hard. Why is it hard?
- It’s hard from a cultural & organizational process perspective; the default is to act local, so you have to constantly be aware of the fact that you are a hybrid company.
- It’s hard from a cost perspective. Remote and office both bring costs. Hybrid brings both and thus adds additional costs.
- It’s hard from a legal perspective; (Dutch/European/local) laws make it difficult to hire colleagues living in another country and working for a Dutch-based company. It makes it even harder when a colleague emigrates from the Netherlands to another country. This is because they used to be paid via their Dutch employment contract due to their Dutch employment contract by that particular Dutch entity. Setups via a third party would result in working indirectly for the same Dutch entity will be seen as ‘successive employment or even “false employment” under Dutch law. Successive employment means that your Dutch employment and all the Dutch laws (Labour law) remain applicable. Simply: in that case, the place of work does not change, and you still work under Dutch law.
Historically we have had a few colleagues who emigrated from The Netherlands to another country. For some of them, it meant the end of their employment with the organization. One of them was hired via a third party or is paid via a local entity.
It’s important to know that case-by-case circumstances will be unique. We all are equal, but (individual) not the same. The situation of a colleague might look the same (compared to your personal situation) at first glance, but it will never be the same. Each case will be handled individually, and assessed by the relevant roles, so it’s therefore important not to project the situation of a colleague on your own and vice versa. This is looked at on a per-case basis.
We have also experimented with working abroad in a temporary capacity. So far it has worked (reasonably) well. Again, decisions regarding if it is an option for your specific situation will be made taking into account all circumstances per request/case.
We believe that the future of the organizations is hybrid, but rules and regulations set by Dutch/ European and or local law are far from ready regarding location-independent hybrid work. Systems concerning payroll tax, social security law, mandatory provisions in the country of employment, pension, insurance, etc. differ per country. This is something we spoke about with the Dutch government, but it will take years, if not decades for that to change. This also means that in most cases permanent emigration while keeping the existing employment contract is very likely impossible. You should always ask for permission from the roles involved (beforehand).
If employment in the Netherlands is not an option, what is?
Via a 3rd party
Companies like Gitlab use https://remote.com/ or Safeguard Global. For new colleagues these two are options, but they are expensive options (at least >25% per colleague extra). This would only be an option if we localize the salary to the local costs of living and find colleagues in countries where these are lower compared to The Netherlands. For existing employees who are emigrating employment via a third party, it is not an option because Dutch Law will see this as successive employment for the same organization.
You can become self-employed in your country of residence. In these cases, costs for Voys can exceed regular salary costs + the overhead we have associated with them. The total costs of an employee for an employer are roughly 1,3x your gross salary.
In the Netherlands and f.e. Spain working for only one entity as a self-employed entity is seen as “false employment” hence why this won’t always be an option.
Create a Voys entity in a foreign country
Voys is conducting their internationalization through a Dutch B.V. named Voys Europe B.V. That means we’re not creating local entities in foreign countries and we also don’t have registrations to local Chambers of Commerce, hence we do not have fiscal entities.
Keep in mind that we also need to compensate for more than just salary when working hybrid. We need to take into account the extra costs of working remotely like time and travel expenses + for times we need to get together. Traveling from South Africa costs more in both time and travel expenses than France for example. They also have a different environmental footprint.
Working hybrid might also mean that you lose your protection within the Dutch labor law (fe unemployment benefits), which is good to keep into account.
One final note
‘we work to live, and that we don't live to work’
If you want to experiment with living abroad or have the dream to do so, do not let “a job” hold you back. Yes, Voys is an awesome company to work at, but remember that we work to live. We don't live to work. There are loads of companies that hire remotely nowadays, so it’s good to explore other options as well. Voys has a lot of international connections that you may use. If your employment location remains in the Netherlands while you work abroad, we can sometimes facilitate this if you are working internationally temporarily. This also gives you the time to investigate local job options and get a feel of how life would be in the chosen country. Do you want to try emigration? Please do so! We are willing to experiment and try how this can work. We don’t have all the answers and solutions yet, but let’s figure this out together. It is a personal choice and a personal journey, and we hope this document helps you explore the options you have. But again, if this is your dream, please give it a go.
You can always return to the country of origin and start over. In life, you’ll only regret the things you did not do.