COVID-19 remains the biggest driver of employee relocations, reveals latest data from the Atlas Van Lines' Corporate Relocation Survey. More than half (56%) of the organisations attributed a significant number of employee relocations in 2021 to the pandemic. However, the overall number has witnessed a dip given 62% of employers said the same in 2020.
“The specific impact of COVID-19 is decreasing for employees, with common access to vaccines, coronavirus testing, PPE, and other layers of protection from companies' internal COVID-19 hygiene policies," the report said.
Other factors fuelling employee relocations were found to be:
- Economic conditions
- Lack of qualified people
- Real estate market
- Growth of domestic competition
- Political or regulatory environment
- Natural or man-made disasters
- Growth of international competition
- Supply chain/shipping/transportation capacity constraints
- Tax legislation/compliance challenges
While the survey identified the above driving factors, it also recommended employers to be abreast of the impact of COVID-19 on employee attitudes around personal safety, relocation costs, and trends, as well as workplace management and norms.
The report also acknowledged the pandemic as only one of the drivers of inflation and cost-of-living, which nudged employees to be more reliant on dual-income households - a "major barrier to successful relocations," the report said.
Beyond dual-income households, other barriers to relocating were identified as:
- Family issues/ties (51%)
- Spouse's or partner's employment (34%)
- Cost of living in new location (32%)
- Health concerns or COVID-19 (26%)
The report advised organisations to collect data on employees' considerations and needs when it comes to the current economic conditions. "Consider revisiting relocation policies such as housing assistance, cost-of-living adjustments, commute times, and hybrid/remote work policies."
If the emerging hybrid ecosystem were to adopt a greater ratio of work from anywhere than being in the office, it will certainly push employees to think about a definitive long-term shift in where they choose to work from.
While employers in the likes of Airbnb push for a permanent remote work policy, it remains crucial for those aspiring to follow suit, to keep in mind employee preferences as well as needs as they opt to not return to the workplace. Be it working from home or working from anywhere, as employees reevaluate their preferred work location, organisations must update their offerings to enable a seamless transition and continuity.