Where companies were once tentatively considering or gently introducing flexible and remote working, working from home has forced them not only to embrace it fully, but to also consider what they’re going to do once COVID restrictions start to relax.
This is a matter of hot debate, and there are a lot of unknowns. What will the future of work look like? Are offices a thing of the past? How can employers support employees as the impact of remote working is felt? And with the big tech players making moves to introduce remote working and ‘work from anywhere’ policies – most recently Salesforce and Spotify – how long will it take for other, smaller companies to follow suit?
With the global employee relocation management market – valued at $29B in 2017 – set to grow by 3.3% by 2024, what we’re now seeing is an unprecedented migration, with many serviced-based workers actively considering relocating to destinations outside of traditional corporates HQs.
The benefits of remote working
One positive from the pandemic-enforced working from home situation is that employee productivity has not been impacted, thus paving the way for employers to relax their perspective on remote working.
Prior to the pandemic, one survey found 65% of employees felt they could be just as productive working remotely as in a traditional office, while research undertaken by Microsoft during the pandemic shows that productivity has remained unaffected, and has even increased in many companies.
Employees’ work-life balance has also benefited from working remotely. A reduced commute time and the ability to work anywhere – not just from home – has resulted in happier employees (up to 75% in the UK) and some significant cost savings for employers.
The pandemic has shown that many employees can be successful working from anywhere and this has accelerated the trend towards relocators being more digitally-minded and interested in moving for lifestyle reasons rather than purely for their career. Many large corporates are investing in new roles to support this population, such as Okta’s recently appointed new head of dynamic work.
Not only that, but being able to offer relocation support to employees is a huge advantage in attracting and retaining talent in the new hybrid world of work. As long as employees are tax compliant and have the appropriate visa, there’s nothing to stop them relocating to a completely new country.
Indeed, IBM recently found that 54% of US employees want to carry on working remotely after the pandemic: that’s more than half the workforce potentially looking for total location independence.