The year 2023 has witnessed momentous transformations in global mobility policies and practices. With the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing shift towards remote working practices, organisations have had to adapt their global mobility strategies to accommodate the demands of an evolving workforce. This blog will explore the significant changes in global mobility and relocation practices that have emerged this year.
The Shift towards Short-term Travel
Due to the evolving work environment, international mobility programs have shifted their focus from primarily long-term assignments to include more frequent short-term travel, business trips, and remote work arrangements. Although there is no doubt about the value of face-to-face interactions, they are not always essential for everyday activities. This change allows for more adaptability without sacrificing efficiency and promotes contentment among employees.
Increase in Relocation Needs
In 2022, several companies evaluated their plans for returning employees to the office to restore normality in the aftermath of COVID-19. As companies adopt in-office or hybrid work models, the demand for relocation services has risen.
Emphasis on Compliance in New Locations
Companies that allow remote work are now more focused on ensuring compliance in different locations rather than relocating employees to their central offices. This compliance knowledge is essential because different countries and states have unique tax regulations and requirements that remote workers must comply with. As such, Global mobility experts now provide necessary business operating services like Employer of Record (EOR) services to legally and effectively support remote work arrangements.
Personalised Benefits Packages for Mobility
More and more employees who are moving to new locations are looking for personalised benefits packages that cater to their individual needs and preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer adequate, and employees now expect relocation packages that offer tailored services such as assistance in finding suitable schools for families with children, appropriate accommodations, or financial incentives for those who want to explore alternative options. Furthermore, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly relocation solutions that include services for disposing of and donating household items, as well as information on the sustainability of housing options in new locations.
Employee-Initiated Transfers and Travel
With the rise of remote work, employees now have the freedom to choose where they work. This newfound flexibility has led to an increase in transfer and travel requests. As a result, global mobility teams are responsible for monitoring employee locations and ensuring compliance with local laws. This is all part of the effort to provide workers with the flexible work arrangements they desire.
In 2023, companies are prioritising flexibility in their mobility programmes, aiming to eliminate barriers and facilitate employee movement. To achieve this, employers are advised to establish a solid foundation to identify viable options quickly. Collaboration with relevant partners such as EORs, visa service providers, and settling-in service providers is also crucial. However, companies should still set clear boundaries to protect their interests while maintaining flexibility.
Focus on Compliance
As mentioned earlier, global mobility specialists devote a lot of effort and resources to ensuring compliance, and this focus remains at the core of their operations. Companies must be aware of the local laws and regulations that govern travel, relocation, and remote work to avoid any legal issues in the future. However, they need a risk management strategy to achieve this, considering short-term and long-term objectives. It also involves educating employees about compliance requirements in various locations and collaborating with company leadership and managers to provide training on authorised work travel destinations. Having compliant global mobility policies is essential for maintaining legal and ethical operations.
Data-Driven Decision Making
As companies face potential economic challenges, data-driven decision-making becomes essential for building cost-effective global mobility policies. Accurate forecasting of relocation costs and durations, conducting cost-benefit analyses for relocations, and understanding remote work patterns are critical in shaping successful global mobility programs, and analytics and other tech tools are becoming essential in this regard.
The global mobility landscape has seen drastic changes in the past year, but this period of transformation has also opened up new possibilities. By embracing these changes and staying abreast of compliance regulations, companies can ensure that their global mobility strategies are well-equipped to achieve their mobility objectives for 2023 and beyond.