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2020 has been a year quite unlike any other, with a global pandemic upending business operations and the lives of working people around the globe. Approaches to containing the virus and getting people back to normal ways of living and working differed across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). National lockdowns paired with border closings and travel restrictions became the new normal for the better part of the year, significantly impacting the economies of major economic hubs in EMEA.
Research from more than 80 organizations in 13 industries from around the world between April and May about remote work and re-entry plans revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents reported that 80% or more of their employees were working from home. With so many organizations working remotely with success, additional time can be spent planning a safe return to work. But as different countries grapple with their own COVID-19 responses and timelines, setting a return-to-work date has proven difficult.
One of the ways organizations plan to return to work is a phased approach, with research showing that as of mid-May, 17% of EMEA respondents were planning for more than 40% of their workforce to return. Overall, from April to May the number of global respondents considering a phased re-entry increased by 37%, demonstrating that over time, some employees might return while others continue working remotely. As employees return, common strategies include socially distant floor plans, temperature checks, and increased access to cleaning supplies.
These approaches will prove especially important as some parts of the EMEA region enter into colder months ahead. While new cases could make things more difficult, looking to lessons learned from the past few months can ensure that the EMEA region forges ahead with strength. Organizational leaders and mobility professionals will need to stay on top of safe return to work planning and guidelines in EMEA, ensuring that employees are kept and safe and well in the process.
This year, Worldwide ERC® is connecting the mobility industry virtually through our first-ever virtual, month-long Global Work Symposium. 2020 has been quite a year, and there’s much to learn about across all sectors of the industry. We’ve built out new content tracks that are directly relevant to all of these sectors, including a content track for the EMEA region that ties to our EMEA Summit on 10 November.
At the Global Workforce Symposium, we’ll discuss pressing EMEA topics, including an economic overview of Europe and Africa to review the impact of COVID-19 and see which regional countries have been particularly hurt by the spread of the virus while considering forecasts of projected impacts and scenarios that showcase the variability of outcomes that could impact the overall performance of the regional economy. We’ll also explore the state of work in Europe and Africa, talent mobility in the Middle East, and Brexit.
By retaining all the key elements of our in-person event, GWS will continue to foster connection and learning across the globe for all sectors of the industry. There’s something for everyone at mobility’s biggest annual gathering, and we encourage you to check out our schedule of events and speakers to get a glimpse of what this year’s GWS has to offer.
So if you haven’t already: register now! It’s not too late to sign up to experience this new format with all the elements you’ve come to expect from the Global Workforce Symposium. Join us at the first-ever virtual, month-long Global Workforce Symposium from 28 October to 20 November 2020.
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Mobility is Worldwide ERC®’s monthly magazine, delivering industry and business news and updates, as well as insights on global talent mobility programs, tips and trends.