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New year, new city? Professionals and employees reveal relocation plans amid pandemic

Relocation is a big consideration for both professionals and their employers right now. A recent study by a global staffing firm shows 44 per cent of workers surveyed said they would consider moving to a different city if their company offered long-term remote arrangements, and another three per cent have already made a move.

  • 44 per cent of professionals would consider relocating, but only 16 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to do so
  • Nearly three in 10 companies are allowing workers to make a permanent move

A separate poll of human resources (HR) managers suggests many companies are open to the idea of an anywhere workforce: 49 per cent of respondents reported their organization has allowed current staff to relocate temporarily, and another 27 per cent noted their employer was supportive of permanent moves.

Why workers want to relocate

While the motivation to relocate may vary, common reasons cited by workers include a change of scenery (37 per cent) and lower cost of living (32 per cent). However, the research shows salary remains a priority for most professionals: 84 per cent would not be willing to take a pay cut in their current job if they were to move.

“Most organizations transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic, and employees have proven they don’t need to be in the office to be productive,” said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half, the staffing firm that conducted the survey. “Now that companies are set up to support working from home, workers are more likely to pursue moving to an area that will enhance their standard of living and quality of life.”

How employers are addressing pay

As employees set sights on moving to a new city, companies are having to reconsider how they approach pay. HR managers said they will determine salary for current staff who choose to relocate by:

  • The company’s office location: 69 per cent
  • The employee’s new location: 22 per cent
  • A decision hasn’t been made: 9 per cent

“Whether employees are considering permanent or temporary moves, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to an anywhere workforce and forever changed the way companies operate and manage their employees,” added King. “Flexibility and trust will both be critical as teams become more dispersed and organizations navigate ongoing change.”

Robert Half identifies three staffing trends driven by the rise of the dispersed workforce:

  1. The talent pool will become an ocean. As organizations increasingly adopt a remote-first approach, they’re realizing the value of recruiting outside their city. Hiring managers can avoid wading through a flood of resumes and gain direct access to top candidates by partnering with a staffing firm.
  2. Investments are shifting. Companies are channeling more budget into technology that supports secure remote work and seamless collaboration, as well as employee health and well-being programs and benefits.
  3. Effective onboarding and offboarding are critical. While virtual onboarding has already replaced the in-person orientation process at many organizations, employers also need to reimagine how they handle employee exits from a distance.

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