Mar Employee Population

External Forces and Trends

Business Ramifications of a Globally Dispersed Employee Population – Practical Tools & their Application

  • In Person Event
  • March 22, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm UTC+0

In-Person at the RAF Club, London, & Live-streamed Meeting

One paradox of the Covid pandemic, which saw greater ‘localisation’ of previously ‘global’
supply chains, is that it also appears to have increased the international dispersion of
companies’ workforces. The pandemic encouraged organisations to embrace the available
technology which enabled greater numbers of people to work remotely. The replacement
of office-based working and face-to-face meetings by online working happened at a speed
that surprised even the technology’s most enthusiastic advocates. The results will be longlasting.

While there will inevitably be some return to office-based working, the idea that some roles can be performed just as effectively from more remote locations has taken root. This presents both opportunities and difficulties for employers.

Technology has made it easier for companies to draw on a geographically dispersed talent pool. Widening the source of hard-to-find skills for niche roles may become a significant advantage. It may also boost flexibility and resilience in the face of political, social and environmental shocks. However, attractive as these arrangements may seem, they carry legal, regulatory, and logistical challenges. The advantages must be set against the potential loss of control and increased risks for the employer.

  • Protection of intellectual property, and control over key assets such as employee and client base – which might work in a single jurisdiction via contractual obligations and restrictive covenants – will become more difficult to enforce across diverse legal jurisdictions.
  • Cross border arrangements bring regulatory and tax compliance challenges, especially where a company has no formal legal entity in a country. This is further complicated by the phenomenon of the ‘stealth expat’ – where employees move countries without going through the company’s formal assignment process.

With the remote working genie now out of the bottle, these questions demand a new set of rules and procedures. As cross border working becomes physically (if not legally) easier, more employees will ask to do it and more companies will seek to use it to access talent pools or reduce costs. In this session we will examine the twin business imperatives of business protection and regulatory compliance. We will focus on practical tools, including technology, needed to manage the implications of a globally dispersed workforce, including such areas as:

  • Compliance with tax, immigration and employment law requirements;
  • Protection of intellectual property;
  • Use of restrictive covenants;
  • Contracts of employment;
  • Auditing and managing the inherent risks.

In the increasing war for talent, businesses have to be more proactive than ever in protecting their business interests, whether that is their confidential information, trade connections or the stability of their workforce. We will discuss both the risks and opportunities for businesses and will draw on technical guidance from acknowledged legal experts and experienced practitioners.


Elizabeth Graves

Employment Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Elizabeth is an employment partner in the Human Resources Practice Group at Eversheds Sutherland. She joined in 2011 having worked in the employment, pensions and benefits team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP for over 10 years. Elizabeth co-leads Eversheds Sutherland’s Global International Life Sciences sector team. She is described by Legal 500 as “a leading light in cross-border employment matters … clients describe her as ‘an exceptional lawyer – dependable and commercial with high emotional intelligence and good regulatory insight”. She is also ranked as an Acritas Star Lawyer. Elizabeth acts predominantly for clients in the life sciences, financial services and technology sectors. She is highly experienced in managing the employment aspects of cross-border M&A transactions and in managing day-to-day international employment advice for clients in multiple countries as well as major international projects. Her contentious workload involves the management of complex high-value employment tribunal litigation, often involving discrimination and/or whistle blowing. Elizabeth has also acted in a number of cases involving transfers of undertakings, including a £50m claim for failure to inform and consult. Elizabeth has completed secondments to two financial institutions and to one global media company as VP International Employment law. She is regularly quoted in the press and media and is the co-editor of Bloomsbury’s Financial Services – an Employment Practitioner’s Guide. She is a keen supporter of diversity, acting as a Gender Network Champion for Eversheds Sutherland.

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Louisa Cole

Principal Associate, Eversheds Sutherland

Principal Associate, Eversheds Sutherland
Louisa has extensive experience advising on UK immigration law and the Points Based System (PBS) and has represented some of the world’s largest companies across a breath of industries including the engineering, media and the financial services sector. She provides strategic advice to businesses on navigating the new immigration system with particular expertise in relation to Tier 2 of the PBS and work related visas.
She routinely advises on the immigration aspects of establishing a business in the UK, operating a compliant and functioning immigration programme and advising on immigration options for businesses and individuals in light of Brexit.
Louisa has experience assisting businesses of all sizes with the structure and maintenance of their UK sponsor licences, the development and documentation of their internal mobility policies and the immigration implications of corporate restructuring. She routinely guides clients through complex right to work issues, the prevention of illegal working and general compliance with sponsor obligations.

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