Why Being OCONUS Doesn’t Have to Mean the End for Your Remote Career

Has your military journey led you and your family outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS)?

Or, do you expect that’s on the horizon?

If so, we’re here to reassure you when it comes to finding and maintaining a remote career while overseas by sharing the answers we get to common questions on this topic.

Q: Do we hire remote team workers (RTMs) who are OCONUS?
The most straightforward answer of all – yes, absolutely! Unfortunately, however, we cannot hire RTMs who are currently stationed in Italy due to SOFA issues. We’ll dive into this in greater detail next.

Q: Okay, what exactly is a SOFA?
Our friends at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) housed at Syracuse University have the best resource to address this exact question. Let’s give you a quick rundown:

SOFA stands for a Status of Forces Agreement between a host country (e.g., Italy) and a foreign nation (e.g., U.S.), identifying the set terms under which the members of the force and the civilians of the foreign nation are allowed to operate in the host country. Often, some of the terms laid out within a SOFA include entry and exit into the country, tax liabilities, postal services, and sometimes, implications on spouse employment overseas.

For example, here’s more information on how employment for military spouses living in Italy can be affected by a SOFA.

Q: So, where possible, why is remote work a good fit for OCONUS military spouses?For many of the same reasons why remote work is a good fit for CONUS spouses, such as:

  1. The advanced skills you worked so hard to obtain don’t have to go to waste for months or years. You can utilize them in a meaningful remote work setting.
  2. No matter where your military journey takes you and your family next, you can find comfort in the fact that you won’t have to start from square one in finding and obtaining a job. A remote career can move with you.
  3. You can maintain a certain level of flexibility for both yourself and your family. The reason being, remote work often means you can work from anywhere at any time. Want to travel back to the states and visit your family? Your work doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt.
  4. Being overseas can lead you to a whole new level of isolation as you’re farther away from family and friends. The upside is, remote work offers a sense of connection and community because you are a valued member of a team. And that often means virtual meetings and daily conversations with your fellow colleagues.

Q: What types of jobs do OCONUS RTMs hold through Instant Teams?
Here’s something that might surprise you. There actually is no difference in the jobs people can hold OCONUS. So, the types of positions really vary, which is a remote career dream come true as our workforce can continue to power through an OCONUS move and the entirety of the duty assignment.

To give you a small sampling, right now, we have OCONUS RTMs in positions such as a Finance Manager, Customer Success Agent, Digital Coordinator and more.

Q: How can OCONUS RTMs benefit Instant Teams’ customers?
The fact that there’s no difference in the jobs people can hold OCONUS through Instant Teams is one of the benefits for customers partnering with us. Meaning, we have teams working around the world and in international time zones, keeping the business flowing and running each day successfully. Primarily, 24/7 operations.

Q: What countries do we currently have RTMs in?
Check it out – this is the world view of where our RTMs are currently working!

OCONUS remote work worldmap

Q: How does living OCONUS affect taxes?
No matter where you’re stationed (CONUS or OCONUS), military members and their spouses are considered to live in their U.S state of residence. That said, the rules for filing your income are the same. It’s important to note, however, that being employed remotely (or working as a remote contractor for an employer) versus running your own business OCONUS comes with vastly different tax implications. 

Here’s some great information if you’re looking for details on when and where to file, as well as tax assistance.

*Disclaimer: always consult a tax professional and your specific base’s legal contacts for official legal advice before filing taxes to ensure your return is flawless.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for spouses looking to work remotely while OCONUS?
For starters, the same CONUS remote work tips apply to those who are OCONUS. But there’s one piece of advice we’d offer you if you’re looking to get started with a remote position: don’t allow time zones to be a barrier to your success. While staying involved and connected across the ocean can prove to be challenging, you have a unique opportunity to provide some serious value to a company—again, basically by helping them run a 24/7 operation given the overlap in your working hours with the stateside team members.

Now, are you feeling ready to start your remote work journey, even while OCONUS? Create or update your Instant Teams profile now.