With the COVID-19 pandemic still dictating the terms of where and how we work, employees are settling into work from home—just not their current home. According to TechRepublic, 75% of employees would consider relocating if work from home arrangements become permanent.
That means employers are now faced with yet another challenge: tailoring relocation benefits to support hybrid “work-from-anywhere.” Companies must remain agile in navigating the legal and logistical implications of this uptrend in employee relocation, all while driving performance, recruiting and retaining talent, and keeping their employees–both near and far–safe.
Our Guest: Gary Conerly, HomeServices Relocation
On our latest WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Gary Conerly, Director of Client Advisement for HomeServices Relocation. He’s a trusted human resources professional who has spent the last 20 years developing cost-effective relocation services for employers in a variety of industries.
When it comes to employee requests for relocation, Gary says the pandemic has changed things in a major way:
“Employees are saying…if I can work from home, why can’t I work from anywhere? The employee thinks that’s no big deal. I hope every listener out there is rolling their eyes right now. Because we all know just how big a deal that would be.”
Recruitment, Retention, and Relocation Benefits
In this new hybrid “work-from-anywhere” culture, how a company administers relocation benefits makes all the difference between retaining talent or sending them looking for more flexibility elsewhere. Gary explains:
“When a valued employee comes to you and makes a request to move to another state…most companies are approving that request. Losing an employee who has been upskilled…can have a significant impact on the business’ goals.”
Competitive relocation benefits have often been a critical part of onboarding. Now, Gary says that successfully recruiting top talent may depend on them:
“One of the reasons an employee says ‘I’m not going to take this job’ is a lack of support when it comes to relocation. So, HR, at a minimum, needs to provide guidance, education, and resources for any and all relocating employees.”
When asked where companies should start, Gary had this to say:
“HR professionals can reach out to a relocation firm asking about the possibility of benefits that are provided free of charge and for guidance on reputable, professional moving companies, or (various) discounts for their employees.”
The Legal Implications of Hybrid “Work-From-Anywhere”
While employees may not see the issue with relocating, for employers, it’s a different story.
“What if they’re moving to a state that has significantly more stringent labor regulations versus their current state? HR leaders…business leaders would have to look into (this) before they approve such a request,” Gary says.
Relocation and COVID-19
Relocation has always been a complex process and the pandemic has only made it harder. Employers must now determine what their duty of care and responsibility is to best support an employee looking to relocate.
“COVID-19 has had a serious impact on…moving services and other services related to relocation. Companies should educate employees about the risks that they face and set realistic expectations about the time involved,” Gary says.
Gary warns that if a company fails to provide this guidance, it can lead to stress on the employee and hamper their productivity, which affects a business’ bottom line.
Hybrid “Work-From-Anywhere” and the Future of Work
As for what the future looks like in the “work-from-anywhere” culture, Gary explains that employees aren’t the only ones heading for different horizons:
“Here in the past 12 months, we’ve helped over 10 companies move their entire headquarters either a few states away or in some cases across the country…for real financial and quality of life reasons. I don’t see that going away.”
I hope you enjoyed this episode of #WorkTrends, sponsored by Homeservices Relocation. To learn more about facilitating employee relocation in the hybrid work world, contact Gary Conerly on LinkedIn.