COVID-19 remains biggest factor in employee relocations

New data reveals that while the virus is top of mind, more workers are hoping to move this year

COVID-19 remains biggest factor in employee relocations

The pandemic stayed as the top external influence for companies when it comes to relocation, a new report revealed today, but data suggests that its impact is slowly declining.

According to the Atlas Van Lines' latest Corporate Relocation Survey, 56% of companies said COVID-19 is still the external factor with the most significant impact on the number of employee relocations in 2021. However, this is lower than the 62% of companies who said this was the case in 2020, reflecting the pandemic's decreasing impact for both employers and employees. In fact, only 26% of companies said that COVID-19 caused a failed relocation in 2021, much lower than the 44% the previous year.

"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," read the report.

To be sure, however, the report advised employers to track the reverberating effects of COVID-19, employee attitudes around personal safety, relocation costs, and trends, as well as workplace management and norms.

It also stressed that the pandemic is only one of the drivers of inflation and cost-of-living, which are factors that prompt employees to be more reliant on dual-income households, a situation the report described as a "major barrier to successful relocations."

Read more: Employees will relocate for THIS staff benefit

Aside from the pandemic, the report said the following factors also have an impact on relocation volume:

  1. Economic conditions
  2. Lack of qualified people
  3. Real estate market
  4. Growth of domestic competition
  5. Political or regulatory environment
  6. Natural or man-made disasters
  7. Growth of international competition
  8. Supply chain/shipping/transportation capacity constraints
  9. Tax legislation/compliance challenges

Meanwhile, these are the top factors for employees declining relocation:

  1. Family issues/ties (51%)
  2. Spouse's or partner's employment (34%)
  3. Cost of living in new location (32%)
  4. Health concerns or COVID-19 (26%)

As per the recommendation in the report, employers should also consider collecting 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."

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