Author Topic: working from home and travel.  (Read 1551 times)

clarkfan1979

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working from home and travel.
« on: April 24, 2021, 06:20:27 PM »
Short Story: My wife has taken a virtual assistant job twice in the past. She has taken lower pay to be able to travel. Both times her "employer" has complained about travel, with but no actual complaints regarding actual work.

Has anyone else gotten push-back from an employer that, "you travel too much" when you have a work from home job?



 





MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 07:08:22 PM »
Caveat: I don't have a (permanent) WFH job. I'm currently WFH in a job that is normally in the office, & requires plenty of international travel.

How do they know she's traveling? Is she still able to work the appropriate hours/schedule? If she's still working in the right time zone, I'm confused as to why this would be an issue, or how an employer would know. That said, the reverse would also be true. If you want someone to work and communicate with you during your working hours in say US Pacific time, and they are in India, that would be a big challenge logistically.

doneby35

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2021, 07:18:40 PM »
Caveat: I don't have a (permanent) WFH job. I'm currently WFH in a job that is normally in the office, & requires plenty of international travel.

How do they know she's traveling? Is she still able to work the appropriate hours/schedule? If she's still working in the right time zone, I'm confused as to why this would be an issue, or how an employer would know. That said, the reverse would also be true. If you want someone to work and communicate with you during your working hours in say US Pacific time, and they are in India, that would be a big challenge logistically.

Same here. I currently work from home because of the current times, but normally in office. Is the travel interfering with the job in any way? if not, and if it's a strictly remote position, it shouldn't matter. Does she even need to disclose she's traveling? how would the employer even know?

clarkfan1979

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2021, 07:33:03 PM »
Short Story: My wife has taken a virtual assistant job twice in the past. She has taken lower pay to be able to travel. Both times her "employer" has complained about travel, with but no actual complaints regarding actual work.

Has anyone else gotten push-back from an employer that, "you travel too much" when you have a work from home job?

My wife's first virtual assistant job was in 2016 working for a financial planner. Upon hire, she disclosed that she wanted the job for flexibility with travel. This was 12-15 hours/week for $12 hr. There were some raises promised that never happened and she eventually quit. However, the main reason she quit was because her employer didn't want her to travel anymore.

Her second job virtual assistant job is happening right now and she is working for a real estate agent. She is currently working 10 hours/week and making around $15/hr. We are now starting to get some of the same comments as in 2016. I don't see how it can interfere with work at all. It seems to be an emotional irrational thing.

I have a few friends that teach college remotely right now. They have been doing some pretty extensive traveling on their "teaching days." They teach from their hotel room or RV. However, they didn't tell anyone at their work because they are fearful of punishment for leaving town. They told me because I no longer work at that college.

iluvzbeach

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2021, 07:54:18 PM »
I WFH and have for many, many years. My employer doesn’t care where I work and never has. I’ve worked from all over the world with no issues. I’ve always stuck to working on what’s considered my “normal” time zone, regardless of what time zone I’m currently in.



Blue Skies

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 05:36:00 AM »
There are a few reasons why she could be getting pushback.  The most likely reason would be if she is not available at the times she is supposed to be, due to the travel.  Is this the case?  You didn't say.  Another would be if she is not getting the work done on time.

I WFH part time, and have for many years.  The only times I have gotten a little bit of pushback were due to (lack of) availability, or due to people just plain being jealous.  For the most part I don't tell work associates when I am traveling.  Partly because they don't need to know, and partly because people can tend to get jealous if I am always traveling and they are stuck in the office.  I tend not to advertise how much time off I have either because I work part time and most of my colleagues are full time.  I'm getting paid less, so I should be working less, but people are emotional and all they can see is me taking ANOTHER vacation.

I would tell her to make sure she is available at the specified times, no matter what; that she always has reliable internet access, and that she is getting the work done, and then stop talking about not being at home.  This is work, surely she can find something else to talk about.

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2021, 07:08:09 AM »
As others have said, we need to know more to be able to comment.

How did her employers even know when she was traveling?

TheFrenchCat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2021, 08:19:41 AM »
I've been WFH for 5 years and haven't had any problems with my employer about traveling.  In fact they're also super flexible with (unpaid) time off as long as it's not the busy season.  But if you're scheduled to work, they don't care where you are.  However, most of the company's workforce is WFH, so it might be different if your wife is one of the few WFH employees of a mostly in person company.  There might be jealousy or worries that it's not professional to work on vacation, which is weird, but I'm just trying to imagine why there would be pushback, assuming her work is getting done.  Does she have to tell her employer that she's travelling if she's still getting work done?

clarkfan1979

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2021, 02:42:58 PM »
As others have said, we need to know more to be able to comment.

How did her employers even know when she was traveling?


I thought I answered the question about the employer knowing about travel. "Upon hire, she disclosed that she wanted the job for flexibility with travel."

Both jobs have been being a personal assistant. It's not working for a big corporation. You have personal conversations and the employer will ask where she is as a conversation piece. She could lie, but that doesn't seem like a good long-term solution.

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2021, 03:33:51 PM »
As others have said, we need to know more to be able to comment.

How did her employers even know when she was traveling?


I thought I answered the question about the employer knowing about travel. "Upon hire, she disclosed that she wanted the job for flexibility with travel."

Both jobs have been being a personal assistant. It's not working for a big corporation. You have personal conversations and the employer will ask where she is as a conversation piece. She could lie, but that doesn't seem like a good long-term solution.

So she's just volunteering the information every time she takes a trip? Even though it is not impacting her work in any way shape or form??

There's a difference between lying and not volunteering irrelevant i formation that might be used against her. Although, I cannot fathom why her employer would possibly care if she's traveling unless it is actually impacting her work in some way.

Blue Skies

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2021, 04:55:08 PM »
There is a difference between "I want the job for flexibility with travel" and the boss knowing exactly where you are every day.  I wouldn't say lie, but I would come up with a non-answer.  "I'm just sitting in my office" sounds fine and keeps the conversation moving along.  No one should care that her office this week happens to be in a hotel (or whatever).  The only way that it becomes unavoidable to tell the boss you are not at home is if you are not available when you should be, or if you don't have set hours and tend to answer the phone when you are in a crowded space.

But again, I am still wondering why this is an issue at all.  What specifically are the issues being brought up?
You said:
However, the main reason she quit was because her employer didn't want her to travel anymore.
We are now starting to get some of the same comments as in 2016.

So, what are the comments?

norajean

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2021, 05:16:47 PM »
Comments like -
Employer - "I need those documents polished up and sent to me by the end of the day. What's all that background noise?"
Assistant - "We are having a long lunch at The Blue Bayou at Disneyland!"

Kris

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2021, 07:25:49 AM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2021, 07:31:09 AM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

clarkfan1979

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2021, 12:39:03 PM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to me either. That's why I posted the question.

For my friends who are professors, why are they afraid to disclose their location? They aren't telling anyone because they don't want to get into trouble. Instead of teaching from their home office, they are teaching from hotel rooms and RV's. There is no difference in performance. If that's the case, why hide it?

It seems like the long-term solution is to avoid answering the travel related questions. 


Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2021, 12:54:32 PM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to me either. That's why I posted the question.

For my friends who are professors, why are they afraid to disclose their location? They aren't telling anyone because they don't want to get into trouble. Instead of teaching from their home office, they are teaching from hotel rooms and RV's. There is no difference in performance. If that's the case, why hide it?

It seems like the long-term solution is to avoid answering the travel related questions.

So to be very clear:
-She is up front that she will sometimes be away from home while working
-She is volunteering to disclose to her employer each time she is away from home, despite this not being necessary
-You are absolutely certain that her work is not being impacted in any way when she works away from home
-She is otherwise valued for her work
-Her employer raises their concerns about her working away from her home for absolutely no logical reason

Yeah, that's ridiculous. Either her work is being impacted in some way or her employer is a fucking weirdo who has some really messed up priorities.

I don't know what advice to give other than maybe don't work for a fucking ridiculous employer.

clarkfan1979

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2021, 12:59:15 PM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to me either. That's why I posted the question.

For my friends who are professors, why are they afraid to disclose their location? They aren't telling anyone because they don't want to get into trouble. Instead of teaching from their home office, they are teaching from hotel rooms and RV's. There is no difference in performance. If that's the case, why hide it?

It seems like the long-term solution is to avoid answering the travel related questions.

So to be very clear:
-She is up front that she will sometimes be away from home while working
-She is volunteering to disclose to her employer each time she is away from home, despite this not being necessary
-You are absolutely certain that her work is not being impacted in any way when she works away from home
-She is otherwise valued for her work
-Her employer raises their concerns about her working away from her home for absolutely no logical reason

Yeah, that's ridiculous. Either her work is being impacted in some way or her employer is a fucking weirdo who has some really messed up priorities.

I don't know what advice to give other than maybe don't work for a fucking ridiculous employer.

She doesn't voluntarily disclose her location. However, when asked, she doesn't lie.

Why do my professor friends hide their location? Any ideas? I think it's the same concept.

jeromedawg

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2021, 01:54:55 PM »
Very strange. Echoing the sentiment of others, I don't why someone who has hired *remote* employees would have any sort of expectation as far as their employee(s) travelling too much. Why does it matter so much if it's not impacting the workload or things that need to get done. This is actually worse than working for someone in an office and them complaining that you're taking PTO - even though they might have actual justification to refuse PTO (if it interferes with a deadline or whatever)... it doesn't sound like the employer in this case really can provide a legitimate justification or reason as to why your wife shouldn't be allowed to travel if she's completing all her expected work. It sounds like this real estate agent is power tripping...

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2021, 02:36:46 PM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to me either. That's why I posted the question.

For my friends who are professors, why are they afraid to disclose their location? They aren't telling anyone because they don't want to get into trouble. Instead of teaching from their home office, they are teaching from hotel rooms and RV's. There is no difference in performance. If that's the case, why hide it?

It seems like the long-term solution is to avoid answering the travel related questions.

So to be very clear:
-She is up front that she will sometimes be away from home while working
-She is volunteering to disclose to her employer each time she is away from home, despite this not being necessary
-You are absolutely certain that her work is not being impacted in any way when she works away from home
-She is otherwise valued for her work
-Her employer raises their concerns about her working away from her home for absolutely no logical reason

Yeah, that's ridiculous. Either her work is being impacted in some way or her employer is a fucking weirdo who has some really messed up priorities.

I don't know what advice to give other than maybe don't work for a fucking ridiculous employer.

She doesn't voluntarily disclose her location. However, when asked, she doesn't lie.

Why do my professor friends hide their location? Any ideas? I think it's the same concept.

They probably keep it private because it's private information and not necessary to share. Some people are more private as employees than others.

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2021, 06:48:59 PM »
I can't see any reason to disclose one's travel in a situation like this, unless an extreme time difference might make having your employer contact you during their working hours be tricky.

Which would be a legitimate negative impact on the employee's ability to work.

That's the thing, it's never been clarified if the complaints are about just the fact that she's traveling, or if there is some legitimate impact that traveling is having on her ability to do her job.

Without that information, we can't really advise properly.

I just can't fathom why an employer would complain about a competent employee who is consistently doing their job without issue just because their laptop is located somewhere other than their home.

It makes no sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to me either. That's why I posted the question.

For my friends who are professors, why are they afraid to disclose their location? They aren't telling anyone because they don't want to get into trouble. Instead of teaching from their home office, they are teaching from hotel rooms and RV's. There is no difference in performance. If that's the case, why hide it?

It seems like the long-term solution is to avoid answering the travel related questions.

So to be very clear:
-She is up front that she will sometimes be away from home while working
-She is volunteering to disclose to her employer each time she is away from home, despite this not being necessary
-You are absolutely certain that her work is not being impacted in any way when she works away from home
-She is otherwise valued for her work
-Her employer raises their concerns about her working away from her home for absolutely no logical reason

Yeah, that's ridiculous. Either her work is being impacted in some way or her employer is a fucking weirdo who has some really messed up priorities.

I don't know what advice to give other than maybe don't work for a fucking ridiculous employer.

She doesn't voluntarily disclose her location. However, when asked, she doesn't lie.

Why do my professor friends hide their location? Any ideas? I think it's the same concept.

They probably keep it private because it's private information and not necessary to share. Some people are more private as employees than others.

I can’t say about the professors, but since I’m not work from home without Covid, I’m not allowed to do my work from another state or anything.  I’m expected to be at home.  If I travel, I can travel into the office.

desk_jockey

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2021, 09:47:47 PM »
I believe jealousy could be a factor in the employer’s response.  Cheapness could also be a factor in that the employer may want to pay for 15 hours a week, but want the employee to be available to do that “15 hours” during a specific 20 or 25 hour period that the boss so desires. 

1099 may be the best solution.  At 15 or so hours per week one generally doesn’t get benefits anyway.  Find someone who wants to hire a contractor.  As a contractor they can tell you what to do and for how many hours to do it, but they cannot prescribe exactly when you do the work if they don’t wish to run afoul of tax and employment law. 

draco44

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2021, 10:25:04 PM »
I'm with the chorus. If there isn't an availability or quality of work issue and staying in place is not an agreed upon term of employment, this is just odd. My advice would be to pick a consistent Zoom background filter, do the job while discreetly continuing her travels, and start looking for another employer who won't exhaust her with this nonsense.

six-car-habit

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2021, 02:10:24 AM »
RE agent employer - " Oh, I'm about to go to grocery store after showing the Smith Street house to a client, what are you doing today ?"
 remote employee - " Hanging out on the porch "
RE agent - "Which porch ? "
 remote employee  - " The one between the living room and the outside "

 Re agent employer -  " They have a great sale on printer ink at XYZ store today, but you should avoid taking Main St to get there "
 Remote employee - " Ahh well i didn't plan on being near Main st today anyhow"

RE Agent - " We're going out to Pasta restaurant, didn't you mention you were wanting to go to so-and-so's Greek restaurant soon ?"
 Remote employee - "Well we're going to go somewhere we haven't been to before, I'll tell you about it next week..."

RE Agent " Where are you, by the way ?"
 Employee - " In the bathroom, [ kitchen, lawnchair, gym , "kids educational event", outside ] " - fill in with bland general location.

All these answers can be true, and avoid mentioning her actual geographical location.  After a few of these non-commital but honest answers , employer should get the hint.
 
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 02:16:41 AM by six-car-habit »

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2021, 06:37:50 AM »
I'm now more curious how the conversation goes when the employer criticizes her travel. What issue is the employer actually taking with it, just "you travel a lot and should travel less?"

And how does she reply to that?
I would directly confront my employer and ask "has my travel ever impacted the quality of my work?"

clarkfan1979

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2021, 10:54:03 AM »
I believe jealousy could be a factor in the employer’s response.  Cheapness could also be a factor in that the employer may want to pay for 15 hours a week, but want the employee to be available to do that “15 hours” during a specific 20 or 25 hour period that the boss so desires. 

1099 may be the best solution.  At 15 or so hours per week one generally doesn’t get benefits anyway.  Find someone who wants to hire a contractor.  As a contractor they can tell you what to do and for how many hours to do it, but they cannot prescribe exactly when you do the work if they don’t wish to run afoul of tax and employment law.

Her previous remote gig in 2016 was a 1099. Her current remote gig is a 1099. If that's the case, maybe I shouldn't refer to them as her "employer" My mistake.

In reference to my professor friends, they are not telling anyone about their travel because they are fearful of punishment from their college. That's what they told me.  There is nothing in writing that says that they can't travel. They are currently required to work from home. If that's the case, why are they fearful of punishment?

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2021, 01:16:39 PM »
I'm a freelance copywriter, not a VA, but here's my experience. There is a major issue in the freelancing world with secondary outsourcing. So-called digital nomads take higher paying virtual jobs and then farm them out for pennies to freelancers in other countries. The ones that are better at this still edit the work and vet their writers, while the ones that suck at it are responsible for all of the nonsensical copy on the internet. That's because the work is often outsourced to ESL workers in countries where the dollar goes a lot further, whom may have a great work ethic but can't provide the same quality as someone with native or advanced English language skills. The clients are screwed over, because they are paying better money for native level writers and getting crap copy they will need to pay someone else to fix (often me, and I charge more to fix bad copy than I do for writing fresh content). This could be an issue in the VA world, as well, since written communication and tasks are pretty high priority.

Freelancers that travel and talk about it are a red flag in the eyes of many clients. Some of my clients occasionally try to fish for information to see if I am an outsource risk, usually before giving me a big project or additional responsibilities, to make sure I'm not going to secondary outsource and screw them on quality. I draw a pretty firm professional line and discourage too much personal level small talk - my time is valuable and my clients don't pay me by the hour, so no water cooler chit chat. If a client asks me where I am at, I usually just say my office. This is not a lie - my office is where ever I happen to be when doing work. My assumption is they want to know if I am free to talk, not my actual geographical location.

Malcat

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2021, 05:37:09 PM »
I believe jealousy could be a factor in the employer’s response.  Cheapness could also be a factor in that the employer may want to pay for 15 hours a week, but want the employee to be available to do that “15 hours” during a specific 20 or 25 hour period that the boss so desires. 

1099 may be the best solution.  At 15 or so hours per week one generally doesn’t get benefits anyway.  Find someone who wants to hire a contractor.  As a contractor they can tell you what to do and for how many hours to do it, but they cannot prescribe exactly when you do the work if they don’t wish to run afoul of tax and employment law.

Her previous remote gig in 2016 was a 1099. Her current remote gig is a 1099. If that's the case, maybe I shouldn't refer to them as her "employer" My mistake.

In reference to my professor friends, they are not telling anyone about their travel because they are fearful of punishment from their college. That's what they told me.  There is nothing in writing that says that they can't travel. They are currently required to work from home. If that's the case, why are they fearful of punishment?

If your professor friends are working from home due to covid, then that's a different issue.

You keep bringing them up, are you thinking that there's some commonality as to why they're hiding their travel and why your wife is being given a hard time for hers?

I doubt they are related other than in the most superficial way.


slappy

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Re: working from home and travel.
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2021, 06:49:13 AM »
What comments is the employer making?