Hybrid culture & working abroad at PlaytestCloud

At PlaytestCloud, we believe that going back to an office-first culture is a step backwards, especially with flexible working models and remote or hybrid options in such high demand. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit us, PlaytestCloud responded by redefining the way we work. That’s how, in 2020 and 2021, we became convinced that 100 % remote work can lead to strong business results and productivity. From this experience, we then decided to implement a hybrid work culture, where employees can be flexible in their decisions about whether to work from home, the office, or anywhere in between.

Besides productivity, there is another reason we support a hybrid work model: the tangible, positive effects on work-life balance and general wellbeing for our employees. Further, the possibility to work up to 100% remotely allows our team to share their know-how in a decentralized way and avoid building silos. Hybrid work models have an incredible impact on organizations, and the way their employees function.

Even though a lot of productive work can be done remotely, we also think some work is better completed in person, e.g. workshops or feedback sessions. It’s no secret of course that physical presence fosters team cohesion, innovation, and cross-collaboration.

For us at PlaytestCloud, this means there is no one-size-fits-all solution; in other words, a flexible work environment isn’t centered on employee “presence” or “absence”. To make sure we’re committed to maximum flexibility, we instead decided to give employees ownership over how and where they want to work. This is how we empower individual decision making!

Moreover, we don’t see working from a “home office” as the only alternative for working remotely either. There are a number of ways that working remotely can result in employees feeling empowered to work outside of their usual environment - and from abroad. This is why PlaytestCloud offers our employees up to 90 days per year of “temporarily working abroad” (TWA) experience in other countries besides Germany. Here, we are working to ensure the most beneficial future employment model for every one of our incredible employees.

Nevertheless, cultivating a framework that complies with legal, productive, and safe working conditions while being abroad proved a challenging journey, where we worked to:

  • Stay compliant with German tax regulations.
  • Keep our employees safe regarding health & social insurance.
  • Ensure the safety of work equipment & data.
  • Respect the “183-Tage-Regelung”.
  • Manage our Employer of Record employees without unequal treatment.
  • Consider individual work permits and short stay visas (digital nomad).
  • Request A1 certificates and CoCs.
  • Create a request & confirmation process that supports people instead of increasing admin work.

It’s true, staying compliant was intense. The whole process of creating a fitted approach, understanding the legal regulations, and respecting the authorities took us almost a month. We were even in contact with third-party consultation companies to make sure that we continue to understand and flow within legal parameters. If you’re thinking of establishing a similar rotation, or want to work abroad for your own company, we recommend you talk to your Employer of Record to find out what supports they offer regarding working abroad.

In the end though, all of our efforts have paid off ten-fold. Since we launched our “temporarily working abroad” benefit in March 2022, almost every week another employee opts into a more flexible work environment. Not only did we learn how to efficiently navigate through official policies and regulations - we also managed to increase our wellbeing score, net promoter score, commitment, and engagement rates!

In short, by offering the option to work abroad or enjoy hybrid work styles, we made our employees happy. To us at PlaytestCloud, this is what modern work culture is all about: creating an environment where people feel safe, are satisfied with their work, and can develop into the next best version of themselves — wherever that journey takes them.