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There are 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users worldwide, and Microsoft Word is easily the most commonly used word processor. Sharing and collaborating using Word files is easy and increasingly common. Here are a couple of ways you can get your hands on a copy of Microsoft Word.

Free Online Office Apps

Microsoft Office apps are available for free from the Office website. All you need to do is select the icon for the app you want to use. Choose from Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. You need a Microsoft account to gain access. If you don’t have an account, create one for free. After logging in, you can choose to create a blank document or choose from hundreds of templates. One of the best things about the online version of Microsoft Word is that it automatically saves your work for you. If you’re familiar with Word, the online app looks very similar. Along the top, the ribbon includes all the basic tools, but the free online app doesn’t have everything you get with the purchased Microsoft Word processor. You can copy and paste, insert images, add links and format your text. One of the perks of using online Microsoft Word is you can invite others to review and make changes to your document in real time. If you need Word for just the basics and don’t want to pay for a copy on your PC, the free online app is the way to go.

Download from Microsoft Website

If you want to purchase a license to use Word on your desktop or laptop, you can do that by visiting the Office store to download a copy of Word for one PC or Mac. The current version is compatible with macOS or Windows 10. Make sure you have enough free space on your hard drive for the program before installing. You need 4GB of disk space on a PC and 10GB on a Mac. You also need internet access and a Microsoft account to download a copy of Word.

Buy in Store

You can always buy a copy of Microsoft Word in various retail stores. Electronics stores like Best Buy and Staples stock copies of Microsoft Office as well as just Word on its own. If you’re a student, you can buy Microsoft Office Student and save some money.


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Types of Global Assignments: which one is best for each of your relocations?

Both companies and staff have a lot to gain with corporate relocation. Businesses have many options when choosing their global mobility strategy, and knowing the different types of global assignments can help them decide on their strategy.

With a diverse global mobility portfolio, organizations can maximize their ROI by ensuring they choose the most appropriate and cost-effective assignment, whether concerning the duration of the assignment, location or its overall strategic goal.

Let’s look at the different types of global assignments.

Short vs. Long term global assignments

An assignment is a type of relocation within a global corporation or joint venture that requires the employee to relocate, specifically to another country, and work there for a set amount of time.

We consider “short-term assignments “those that take place within less than a year; and a “long-term assignment” when the predetermined time is greater than that. Short-term assignments are usually associated with specific projects with shorter timelines, while long-term assignments are more broadly strategic. Long-term assignments are quite labour intensive for companies and their relocation partners because of compensation and taxes.

International commuter assignment

An alternative to traditional global assignments, a commuter assignment happens when an employee lives a few days of the week in the country they work in and frequently returns to their home country.

International commuters are not defined by a specific type or length of the assignment. Some are actually classic relocations, with the employee returning home regularly, possibly on weekends or for a full week every month. Others are less organized “frequent flier” assignments in which the employee travels between countries without a fixed schedule (HR – important! You should always have a way of tracking time spent in the destination country). Sometimes, assignee reluctance to leave their family for short-term assignments results in the company choosing a commuter assignment. This may not always be the best solution for the project (should someone else be considered?)

Extended business travel

Extended Business Travel (EBT) is an umbrella term for frequent business travellers – who travel for business to different countries regularly -, and extended business travellers – who travel for business to another country for an extended period.

As businesses attempt to reduce reliance on traditional assignment types, EBT is a way to respond to demands in other regions of the world or even within the same country. Yet, it is important to pay attention to the duration of the stay. Extended business travel is not without its disadvantages. Tracking time spent at a destination may be harder because the rules around extended business travel are looser. There may be health care coverage concerns. And when extended business travel exceeds 183 days, the agreement might trigger tax obligations in host countries. But other destination country rules may trigger tax without crossing the threshold of 183 days. Finally, extended business travel may be exhausting for the employee and cause stress at home.

Is your company thinking of relocating personnel internationally? Strategic considerations play a role in determining whether to create a long or short-term assignment and overall cost and tax ramifications. Employee hesitancy may mean a commuter assignment over a short-term assignment, but commuter assignment can have a lot of hidden costs. Work with a Relocation Management Company to determine which kind of global assignment works best for your particular situation.

One final word about short-term commuter assignments and extended business travel: it is very important to implement systems to monitor employees’ travel. The company and employee may be liable for tax withholding payments or financial penalties. One problem at companies with low global mobility is that short-term and commuter assignments are often decided upon at short notice at the level of the individual specialist departments, bypassing HR.  This means risk to the company including reputational risk with government authorities. HR should be at the center of relocation, be it long-term, permanent, or shorter-term varieties.

Let All Points help you with this decision. Contact us to learn more.

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Will it boost or harm your career.

There is no suspicion that working abroad is romantic. Living in a culture with different languages, habits, and working styles is an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime experience. It can not only much promote your career development, but also broaden your horizons. However, what many companies now call “global” assignments has some disadvantages. Some parts of the world are indeed dangerous for some visitors, but in most postings worldwide, the challenges are related to different cultures and ways of doing business. Here are some pros and cons of an international assignment to help you decide if it is a smart career move.

Table of Contents

Pros of international assignment, international work experience.

Indeed, the world is growing and becoming more and more mobile and accessible. This is the main driving force. Business leaders today are not geographically constrained. Work experience in an international corporate environment and culture is often described as a prerequisite for most senior positions at major international companies. Instantly add diverse and multicultural elements to your portfolio and experiences to make them more appealing to your position on a global scale.

Global companies are paying more and more attention to international diversity, and there is no sign that this trend stops. Therefore, the overseas experience gained by international mission professionals will help those seeking senior management positions. If you are one of these ambitious professionals, the question should be whether you can afford not to participate in the international assignment?

The company devotes substantial resources to expats international assignments. Allocation itself is usually performed for a specific purpose, and ROI is an important goal. For example, you can transfer assignees with specific skills to a new location to lead a project that is considered essential. Therefore, being selected for a job is usually a compliment, but it is also an opportunity. A successful project overview allows you to prove that you are the assignee and develop your career from the benefits of success. If you can withstand the pressure, then your international assignment can prove beneficial. Are you ready to move forward and succeed?

Experience Different Ways of Doing Business

Learning a particular field and working in that field in the same country means a fairly fixed set of expectations and assumptions. Overall, understanding how other countries treat your industry and business can be an excellent way to open yourself to new ways of doing things. The best part? Wherever you are, you will get these learning outcomes.

Diversify Your Income

When it is difficult to predict what will happen politically, earning income in different currencies is an excellent way to diversify risks and protect the financial future. For example, in the past two years, the pound sterling value has changed 30% from the value of the euro. If you are particularly interested in the domestic economy, relocation is still a way to obtain better salaries and employment opportunities in a more stable business environment.

Explore the world

If you are passionate about traveling, nothing is better than working abroad. Not only you experience the country more deeply, but you can also get rewarded for it. You do not need to spend two weeks to get to know the country’s culture and personality directly. This is also an excellent opportunity to explore neighboring countries. If you are learning a language, immersion in the countryside is also an excellent way to quickly improve your skills.

Cross-Cultural Communication

Cons of an international assignment, emotional problems.

Life as an expat is a rewarding experience. However, it can be challenging. Loneliness, culture shock, and nostalgia usually overwhelm foreigners, and not all migrants are ready to face this strong, perhaps new emotion. The combination of pain and diligence described above has reportedly resulted in high burnout among professional immigrants.

Less Job Flexibility

You love your new country, but do you hate work? Unlike going home, if your position is not suitable for you, you can shop here. Working abroad may mean that your job is linked to your visa. Even if you are not restricted by a visa, your lack of language skills and local experience may limit your escape options.

Interrupted Career Progression

For outsiders, “Out of sight, out of mind” can be a very familiar word. Even if you live in the same company, you do not go out every day or work in different time zones. This means that good impressions are slowly disappearing and are no longer the number one promotion. In the country of visit, it may be necessary to take a junior position due to a lack of local experience or limited language skills, which can feel like a step back professionally.

Cultural and Language Barriers

Among foreigners who cannot establish the necessary business relationships or live daily lives, posting emails in places where there is a tremendous cultural difference or where communication in a new language is required can cause trouble. Non-traditional families, such as gay couples, may face cultural resistance and pressure, making assignment management difficult in the long run

Legal risks

Domestic work laws and regulations regarding wages, taxes, and pensions usually differ between residents and foreigners. As with immigration requirements, compliance with legal requirements must be ensured.

Technological change

Your country’s technology can lag foreign countries for several years. After returning home, it may take several months to digest all the changes.

As global mobility increases, many employees want foreign stamps on their passports to support their personal growth and career development. They are increasingly looking for commuters, rotational, expatriate, or other alternative jobs to build resumes. International assignments are an essential tool for international career development. In this case, employees with international experience are the greater wealth for the organization.

Some potential business traveling international career in which global travel is usually necessary like international accountant, marketing and sales International missions help improve cultural literacy, promote foreign language learning, expand professionals’ network, and broaden their horizons. But of course there are always pros and cons of an international assignment.

If you need a Global Digital Nomad insurance, make sure to check out SafetyWing.   Booking through this link will get you a 5% discount. 

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The Best Types of Expat Assignments for your Mobility Program

by WHR Global | Feb 20, 2018 | News

Finding the right person for an open position can be difficult, so when you find that perfect fit you’ll do what it takes to get them to their new location, even if that new location is abroad. However, relocating someone internationally has never been an easy task. Even if you offer your employees a pay raise,  ship their household goods , or help them find the most amazing new home, expatriate assignments often go awry over time.

Housing, cultural adjustment, family adjustment, and a new work environment can all lead to poor productivity, especially if the assignment takes someone far away from their loved ones for an extended period of time.

There are many preparations and arrangements that go into sending your workers abroad, which is why it is important that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of expatriate assignments: long-term, short-term, and typical business travel.

Some companies choose to use just one type of assignment or include multiple different options, depending on the employee and the position available. Either way, finding the best fit for both your company and your employee will ensure both are successful long term.

What is a long-term expatriate assignment?

There is no single definition of what constitutes a long-term expatriate assignment because companies vary in how they define long term versus short term. Still, a  long-term expatriate assignment  generally has a 12-month to 36-month duration. Some companies may define a long-term expatriate assignment as work that lasts a minimum of two years but not longer than five years. One of the most important things to note is that this type of assignment is not a permanent transfer; the employee intends to return to his or her home country after the long-term assignment is complete.

The benefits of expatriate work go both ways. You have the opportunity to dispatch your best talent to international partners and help them build and grow their international business; and, your workers have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of different cultures and markets and enhance their careers with overseas experience.

The specifics of each long-term assignment vary greatly depending on industry and location. In the past, it was important to instill the culture of the parent company into the foreign entity and help drive revenue growth in the overseas location. Today this still exists, but the opposite is also true. Overseas workers are being deployed to the parent country or other countries to gain experience, transfer knowledge, and run specific project-based work. How companies handle expatriate assignments are changing as global travel is now just as common as traveling within your own country.

Companies know that  employee dissatisfaction  with long-term expatriate assignments is a problem. The most striking example of employee dissatisfaction is when workers move their entire family overseas. It’s common for many staff to encounter buyer’s remorse as stress and unfamiliarity with new surroundings begin to affect loved ones.

Costs are extremely high for expatriate assignments and many companies don’t properly vet the individual taking the assignment. They don’t test the person’s ability to thrive in a “foreign” location and adapt culturally. Additionally, many companies forego cultural and language training that is essential in providing a foundation for a successful transition. Simple things like how to conduct a business meeting, learning the norms for handing out a business card, finding what time is appropriate for arriving at meetings, knowing what to do if invited to dinner, etc. are just some of the numerous and subtle social and business norms that will ensure success. However, many companies choose not to or don’t know the importance of this investment.

Consequently, increases in employee dissatisfaction and high costs with long-term assignments has led many companies to reevaluate their long-term policies. Many companies have chosen another route: short-term assignments.

What is a short-term expatriate assignment?

This type of expatriate assignment can last between three months to a full year. Similar to long-term assignments, each company defines short-term assignments differently. Because the employee plans on returning home after such a short amount of time, there are additional benefits that must be considered. Many companies will not allow the family to accompany the employee on these short-term assignments but will provide other options such as more frequent trips home, furnished accommodations, per diems, travel allowances, etc. Relocation management companies, such as WHR Group, can help manage short-term expatriates and provide the structure and benefits available to this group of assignees.

The problems of dissatisfaction and homesickness became apparent with long-term moves, so short-term overseas engagements were developed as an alternative to pulling up roots and moving families across the globe for extended periods. From your company’s perspective, a short duration generally costs less upfront, and it gives you more flexibility when developing a mobile, global workforce. Additionally, the consequences of  individuals becoming “taxable”  in the foreign location can be managed effectively, thus significantly decreasing the cost of the assignment.

The cons of short-term expatriate assignments revolve around demands to rotate a variety of personnel, which requires more planning and administrative time for everyone involved. There is a trade-off between a series of short-term assignments versus a single long-term assignment. What works for your company may not work well for others.

Extended business traveler

These types of expatriate assignments can really rack up frequent flier miles. If your workers travel internationally on business for a duration that only lasts a week or two, they are still, technically, expatriates. Typically, these employees are not on a formal assignment; however, there are still potential tax and  immigration considerations  that need to be made when sending someone on these extended business trips.

For everyone involved, business traveling simply causes less disruption. Your workforce has much more control over how they perform duties and you don’t have to permanently allocate resources to a foreign location.

Work visa requirements differ widely from country to country and can be impacted by the home and host locations involved. In some instances a worker may enter into the country on a work permit waiver, but in other countries it may be illegal to perform a single work duty without having the proper work visas in place.

Regardless of the assignment type that is considered, each type of expatriate assignment has its own strengths and pitfalls. Every company needs to determine what is optimal for their workforce and the business need requiring these assignments.

Read More: The Importance of Repatriation Assistance

Read into How the Preparation of Your Expats Can Ease Their Transition

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Pros and Cons of Different Assignment Structures for Mobility Programs

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As companies adjust to the new reality of work and reassess their mobility programs, there is an opportunity for them to examine the costs associated with running their mobility programs and explore innovative solutions. We are witnessing a renewed interest in mobility as companies seek to adopt the best structure for their business and employees. While non-traditional forms such as remote and hybrid work are becoming more prevalent, there is also renewed interest in both short and long-term assignments. 

This innovation has already been reflected in the evolution of new mobility policies supporting employees working from outside of their usual office locations, including “ Work from Anywhere ” or “Virtual Assignment” policies. Many companies have also increased their use of non-traditional assignment types such as business travelers or short-term rotations.

Download part one of our "Future of Mobility Survey: Remote Work" to discover how HR and mobility managers are creating policies that tackle the unique challenges posed by a remote workforce.

Based on these evolving trends, it may be easy for organizations to overlook the use of more traditional mobility arrangements to support their business growth and talent management goals. However, long-term assignments, short-term assignments, and permanent transfers each have attributes that warrant consideration when determining the most appropriate way to meet the objectives for your company and employees.

As mobility programs continue to evolve, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of traditional assignment types and permanent transfers. Let's take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of these options.

Traditional assignment types – long-term and short-term assignments

One of the most commonly used relocation types is an “assignment.” An assignment is the relocation of an employee from one country to another for a specific period of time. A long-term assignment will generally exceed one year, where a short-term assignment will generally be shorter than one year. Below we have outlined some of the benefits and drawbacks for these assignment types.

Benefits and drawbacks of long-term assignments

Long-term or expatriate assignments have long been a popular option for companies who need to transfer or obtain expertise, set up new entities/markets, or provide career development opportunities, especially for future global leaders within the organization. Here, the longer-term nature of the assignment lends itself to building better long-term relationships and in-depth knowledge that can be invaluable to your organization.

From an employee perspective, another benefit of a long-term assignment is the possibility of remaining on their Home country payroll. In this way, employees can often:

Despite these benefits, a major drawback of the long-term assignment is often cost. Assignments can be more expensive to the company due to several factors, including:

It is important to note that proper planning and policies can help to reduce or eliminate many of these drawbacks.

As many factors, including employment, tax, and immigration law, and the availability of bilateral tax and social security agreements can impact the tax and payroll requirements for an assignment, it is important to consult with your mobility tax and legal advisors to make sure the long-term assignment is structured in an appropriate way.

Benefits and drawbacks of short-term assignments

Short-term assignments may allow companies to achieve several of the same benefits as longer-term scenarios, while also addressing several of the challenges. Benefits to the company of using short-term international assignments include:

Despite these additional benefits, the shorter duration of the assignment may ultimately not provide enough time to allow the organization and assignee to accomplish all the objectives of the assignment. Additionally, the employee may not have enough time to fully “settle in” and develop relationships with the Host country office and clients.

Short-term assignments, as compared to a long-term or expatriate assignment, typically (but not always) result in a lower tax and assignment cost to the company. However, it is important to consider factors that may lead to additional cost, such as:

Benefits and drawbacks of permanent transfers

Another commonly used relocation type is a permanent transfer or “transfer.” A transfer is a one-way relocation of an employee to a Host country for an indefinite period. In a typical transfer scenario, the individual will become an employee of the Host country entity, with Host country payroll and benefits.

Transferees will typically receive less company support than assignees. For example, instead of receiving allowances designed to keep an individual in a neutral purchasing position in comparison to their Home location (i.e., through provision of housing, cost-of-living, and other allowances), a transferee may receive a local pay package with limited or no allowances. Instead of tax equalization, they may only receive limited tax compliance assistance such as tax return preparation in the Home and Host countries for the year of transfer. Due to reduced support, transfer cases may initially have lower overall costs for the company than assignments.

Permanent transfers are often considered in scenarios where specific skills are needed/not available in the Host location, where the cost of an assignment is considered too high, or for employee-initiated moves . Because of the transfer to local payroll, administrative costs and complexities may also be reduced as the Host country entity would handle any reporting or withholding obligations. In addition, the risk of creating a taxable presence for the Home country entity (e.g., permanent establishment) is also reduced as the individual has severed employment ties in the Home country. However, despite these potential benefits, a transferred employee will likely receive compensation in Host country currency, and Host country benefits may differ from Home country benefits. Transferees are generally not eligible to contribute to Home country retirement/benefit plans such as the 401(k) plan for US employees, or contribute to Home country social security, which may be a significant drawback for those that are at senior or executive level or those approaching retirement. Additionally, employees take on exchange rate risk, potential cost-of-living issues, and potentially higher taxes.

From a talent management perspective, it may also be more difficult or costly to later relocate an employee who has been transferred rather than assigned to a location. A transferee will now be tied to a pay package and cost-of-living in the Host location, which will create a new point of reference for future moves.

What is the best relocation type for your company?

As has been shown, the type of relocation best suited for a given employee and your organization will be based on many factors. Key questions to consider include:

Effective management of cross-border assignments can help firms that are trying to grow their business in key global markets while simultaneously reducing costs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, hence, every assignment type and policy should be closely reviewed by the company based on the specific assignment objectives.

If you have questions about different assignment structures or how they could impact your global mobility program, schedule a free consultation  with our team. We are happy to discuss your specific situation.

Mobility tax specialists

Author Mark Tirpak


6900 Wedgwood Rd N, Ste 400

Maple Grove, MN 55311

+1.888.486.2695 | [email protected]



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Virtual expatriate assignments

Benefits | Feasibility | Solutions | Contact us

Remote working has been introduced as a temporary measure during the pandemic, but the debate — whether or not it will be a permanent option for the workforce — is here to stay.

The growing trend towards increased flexibility in global mobility programs has prompted companies to review their policies around international remote working and virtual assignments, reassess their work setup, and weigh the benefits against the considerable challenges and probability of success.

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What can you gain?

Many benefits arise from the growing number of virtual assignments.

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Resilience and risk management

A more agile workforce that includes virtual assignees increases the resilience of organizations and helps maintain business continuity.

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Assignment costs

Virtual assignments can reduce costs by eliminating part or all of the traditional assignment package.

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Dual career and family issues

Virtual assignments avoid the need to compensate spouses for loss of jobs, detriment to their career advancement, and the stress on children caused by relocation.

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Immigration issues

Candidates may be willing to fill overseas roles, but visas, work permit restrictions, quotas, and other legal restrictions may remain impediments.

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Widening the talent pool

Families and individuals who were not considering moving might be willing to accept a job if it does not involve a relocation.

Assess feasibility

Determine if virtual assignments are right for your organization.

Although virtual assignments may not involve the same relocation issues as traditional expatriate assignments, they may still trigger a host of practical, compliance, and HR questions. Chiefly, organizations may face unexpected cultural issues or hidden costs. Furthermore, not all traditional assignments can be replaced by virtual ones.

To determine when a virtual expatriate can replace a traditional international assignee and what objective factors determine the feasibility and success of remote working, analyze the work characteristics, technology setup, compliance, costs considerations, readiness and acceptance, cultural and inclusion issues, and the value for the organizations and employees.

Contact us to see if virtual assignments can work for your organization.

Manage effectively

Create efficiencies across all aspects of your mobility program.

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Mercer Mobility Management Platform is a centralized, cloud-based system that helps you integrate all aspects of your mobility program, offering varied degrees of automation and customization capabilities depending on your requirements.

Personal Income Tax Solution makes determining expat taxes easier by providing everything you need to calculate the tax and social security liability of an international assignment.

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International benefits data and consulting helps protect the health and retirement benefits of your key talent, an important, but complicated, aspect of international working.

Compensate fairly

Make well-informed pay decisions for your virtual assignees.

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Compensation Localizer simplifies setting up the pay package of remote workers localized in a third country.

Cost-of-living data and accommodation cost information helps maintain the purchasing power of virtual assignees.

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Per diem data and business travel expense information helps manage costs of virtual assignees traveling from their home locations to the destinations benefiting from their work, which may be necessary during a virtual assignment.

Remove barriers

Overcome cultural and inclusion issues that impede success.

Organizations might have the right work and technology setup, but they fail to succeed with virtual assignments due to company culture and misunderstandings between assignees and management.

Mercer offers a suite of cross-cultural training tools designed to increase the cultural awareness of virtual expatriates and mobile employees working remotely.

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CultureWizardPassport offers complete, country-specific, and affordable online cultural training programs suitable for all your employees.

Global inclusion course explains why inclusion matters, describes the types of implicit bias, and helps employees be more inclusive as individual contributors, as leaders, and when working with customers.

Contact us for a feasibility assessment

Feasibility checklist Careful evaluation of an assignment should be made to assess whether a virtual assignment would make a suitable replacement. Explore the factors to consider.

Benchmarking data Our recent studies have explored how multinational companies approach  international remote working, as well as the evolution of this current trend in the global talent market.

Live webinar What does the theory and practice of working from anywhere look like in 2023? Join us live for insights around the latest practices based on a compromise between employee expectations, business realities and compliance risks.

Related articles Mercer experts regularly share insights on the topic of international remote working and virtual assignments. 

Get the latest global mobility news, event invitations, and articles from Mercer. sign up now


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    There are 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users worldwide, and Microsoft Word is easily the most commonly used word processor. Sharing and collaborating using Word files is easy and increasingly common. Here are a couple of ways you can get yo...

  4. 6 Words and Phrases for International Assignment

    Synonyms for International assignment · external assignment · overall assignment · overseas assignment · diplomatic assignment · global distribution · international

  5. Overseas Assignment synonyms

    Synonyms for Overseas assignment · external assignment · international assignment · overseas distribution · different assignment · foreign mission · overseas job.

  6. International assignment

    An international assignment is an overseas task set by a company to an employee. Companies that engage in international assignments are mainly multinational

  7. international assignment synonym

    international. cosmopolitan, ecumenical (rare) global, intercontinental, universal, worldwide. English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus.

  8. 10 Synonyms & Antonyms for INTERNATIONAL

    synonyms for international · foreign · global · universal · cosmopolitan · world · all-embracing · ecumenical · intercontinental.

  9. Managing International Assignments

    Different objectives require different levels and lengths of tracking. Leadership development involves a much longer-term value proposition and should include a

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    Short vs. Long term global assignments · International commuter assignment. An alternative to traditional global assignments, a commuter

  11. Pros and cons of an international assignment

    Living in a culture with different languages, habits, and working styles ... However, what many companies now call “global” assignments has

  12. The Best Types of Expat Assignments for your Mobility Program

    Overseas workers are being deployed to the parent country or other ... Many companies have chosen another route: short-term assignments.

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    Benefits to the company of using short-term international assignments include: Like long-term assignments, an employee on a short-term

  14. Virtual expatriate assignments

    Candidates may be willing to fill overseas roles, but visas, work permit restrictions, quotas, and other legal restrictions may remain impediments. icon of