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I live and work in the UK and my company allows me to work from within UK without me notifying them about this.

I asked my manager 2 months ago whether I could work from another country for a period of 5 days since I knew our connections are monitored and I would be asked why I am logging in from different country. He said it was NOT allowed and it was a company's policy.

I said it was fine and forgot about the whole thing until I learnt that one of the other employees is working from abroad. This came up during meeting (my manager was not present on it) and multiple people heard it, but no-one said anything about that.

I later asked that person and he said he was just on part holiday (it's not like he was asked or needed abroad, in that country we don't even have office), so it wasn't an emergency. This person doesn't report to my manager. But he reports to different manager who is on the same level as my manger. This is a big company (1000+ employees).

I just want to be able to work abroad and don't want to cause any problems to the person who went abroad. I was wondering whether I should follow this up with my manager or HR?

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    Have you consider asking this person how did he managed, or whom did he asked, to get permission to work abroad? Also, how long have you been working there? – DarkCygnus Sep 9 at 18:44
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    Does this coworker who will get to work abroad have the same job responsibilities as you? – Upper_Case Sep 9 at 18:50
  • @DarkCygnus I didn't ask him. Perhaps I should. I've worked there for almost a year, he around 3 years. For me the company's policy should apply to everyone's equally? (It's not like it's just my mangers policy). – c1152538 Sep 9 at 19:03
  • @Upper_Case it's in the similar area of responsibility, but no, not the same. But I know it doesn't involve traveling abroad (again, no offices or any other justification - he went to his home town). – c1152538 Sep 9 at 19:05
  • My question was more about whether or not working while abroad might be different for your coworker than for you. My job could be done remotely more easily than some others in my company, and at certain times of year it wouldn't be feasible for me to telecommute. Obviously something differed between your and your coworker's requests, and it seems that you are not currently sure what that difference was. Imagining reasons why they were similar isn't going to be productive and won't lead to a good strategy. – Upper_Case Sep 9 at 19:36
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Don't follow up, ask informally.

Your manager stated that a policy is in place that prevent this: ask HR (replace HR with the relevant internal body in charge of these policies if different) without naming any name if there is a policy dealing with work abroad, since you know that connections are monitored. Better if you can ask to someone directly (John or Anne from HR and not the official HR channel).

Once you get the TRUE™ answer from HR you can define further steps.

Be extremely careful when dealing with your manager! He may have other technical/political/personal/whatever reasons to deny your request and pushing with the answer provided by HR may backfire. Badly.

If no policy exists or work abroad is not forbidden, you may try some small talk with your manager to gather some info about the reason behind the previous rejection and then inquire if there are chances to change his/her mind.

  • Good answer, especially about keeping it informal as possible. The manager may have Health & Safety concerns for remote working. IIRC the business would be responsible for ensuring the OPs safety as, whilst they are working remotely, they are still doing company business and do have some responsibilities. It's a stretch but you never know. – MattR Sep 10 at 12:51
  • @Paolo thanks! I asked HR rep and they said one can work from abroad under special circumstances (emergency/funeral), but it's generally not allowed. I will follow up with the person who went abroad and see whether it was just holiday (as others said) or not. – c1152538 Sep 11 at 6:45
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    @c1152538 you know the policy, let it go. If your manager bent the rules, you pushing is bad. If your colleague said 'holiday' to cover personal matter, you pushing is bad. I can see no positive outcome pushing harder to have the rules bent for you... – Paolo Sep 11 at 17:07

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