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The COVID-19 crisis has shifted the way we work, live, and think about the future. To adapt to these changes, many businesses have turned to remote work while weighing the return to the physical workspace, taking safety concerns and duty of care obligations into consideration. Now, research shows that the remote work environment compounded with COVID-related concerns has many American workers considering relocation.
Results from a survey conducted by ecommerce payment startup Fast released earlier this month revealed that 35% of American workers are considering relocation to a new town or city because of COVID-19. Of the 600 U.S. adults with remote jobs who responded to the online survey, 40% are considering a move to a less populated area, followed by 36% who are considering relocation because there are more opportunities to work remotely than before the pandemic.
For those that have the option, the flexibility offered by remote work has many looking to move. Findings from a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for Zillow showed that more than half of employed Americans (56%) were afforded the opportunity to work from home, and the vast majority want to continue to do so after the pandemic (75%). Additionally, two-third (66%) of those employees would consider moving if they had the flexibility to work remotely as often as they want.
Findings from a FinanceBuzz survey of 1,500 U.S. adults (ages 18+) in May showed that while only 26% reported moving to live in a region less impacted by COVID, the pandemic has put a dent in many of those moving plans. Among those planning to buy or rent a home between March and June, only 1 in 4 followed through with their plans, with the inability to tour new places due to COVID-related restrictions the most cited impediment (42%).
Due to these difficulties, the real estate and moving industry has undoubtedly taken a hit. Like many industries, real estate and moving adapted, offering virtual home tours and remote online notarization that make moving during a pandemic easier and safer. Additionally, duty of care and safety compliance considerations are top of mind through the development of communications plans and task forces that ensure business continuity. These efforts are central to safety and duty of care as workforce mobility ensures a safe return to work.
As states slowly reopen, buyers and sellers in a race to relocate will need to do so safely and effectively. In the meantime, employers will need to guide remote workers through tax considerations that ensure compliance. Whether relocating or working remotely, the workforce mobility industry will be there to guide employers and employees as they navigate the complexities of these trying times.
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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.