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What is the state of employee mobility in 2021?

Gone are the days when employees had to commit to a “9 to 5” schedule, attend meetings in the boardroom and in-person, or carry out the mundane commutes to and from work. Employee mobility is now a major talking point among millions of employees in the UK and globally across multiple industries.

Thanks to digitalisation and flexible working arrangements, employees can choose to work from home (WFH), work remotely in a place that suits them, or even opt to move abroad to succeed in both business and personal life.

With so many possibilities to grasp, this Pacific Prime UK article looks at the current state of employee mobility and what employers need to do to prepare for employees post-COVID-19.

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What is employee mobility?

Employee mobility refers to the set of strategies that are implemented to facilitate and support the movement of employees, as well as their ability to perform work.

As an employer, figuring out the best strategy to keep your workforce happy, safe, and motivated is a delicate balance and one that is typically complex. But getting it right will reap dividends for you and the bottom line. Employers that have implemented WFH policies, remote working options, flexible working arrangements, and made investments in technological tools and setups are effectively leading in employee satisfaction and attractiveness from an HR perspective. Let’s also not forget the basis of an effective employee benefits program, which should be highlighted as well.

What do employees think about the future of working from home?

Most employees in the UK are still working from home to keep themselves and their families safe, while doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in society.

However, as restrictions ease, the UK government wants to help organisations that have suffered during lockdown measures, including those in city centres that rely on office workers. This means getting organisations to slowly bring back the workforce. It’s understandable from the perspective of the UK economy – but when adding employee’s well-being to the equation, employers should also consider offering flexible working arrangements for the long-term and adjusting employee benefits options to meet the needs of employees.

WFH is highly desired by employees

After months of adhering to WFH or remote working practices, employees in the UK feel they have proven their abilities to work productively outside the office. What’s more, employees have enjoyed more autonomy than ever before over their working lives and are reluctant to trade it back for the presenteeism and monitoring of the pre-pandemic UK era.

A study of more than 3,000 employees revealed that fewer than one in ten wants to return to the office full time when COVID-19 restrictions are eased in the UK, according to the University of Strathclyde. This goes to show the consensus for working from home is highly desired by many across the UK, however, some appreciate being in the office, such as those who live alone or do not have a suitable place to work.

Further reading: The employer’s guide to remote working in the UK

Will WFH continue post-Covid?

It’s safe to say that WFH will be an option for many employees beyond COVID-19 as employers look towards announcing plans for hybrid working arrangements to keep employees happy, safe, and to maintain business values, activities and culture. It’s about finding a balance so a hybrid working arrangement seems to be the most logical arrangement for many employers looking to introduce employees back to the workplace.

The war for talent in 2021

The competition for talent is at an all-time high, as stated by Randstad Risesmart UK, and employers will want to do what they can to satisfy today’s workforce needs. According to 85 HR professionals that were surveyed, almost two-thirds (65%) believed that organisations will need the best people on board to help rebuild following the pandemic. Additionally, a further third (33%) thought the demand for talent would remain unchanged.

With this in mind, employers are also encouraged to listen and adapt their policies to the needs of employees as other organisations or competitors in the same space may offer very flexible or completely remote workspaces to address the needs of the workforce today. This also means continuing with flexible working arrangements and reviewing each employee to create a personalized working arrangement that works towards the goals of the business and also satisfies the needs of employees.

Further reading: 5 creative employee benefits to attract talent

Employees relocating abroad to achieve success both in business and personal life

Today, the demand to travel and work internationally has increased beyond expectations. Even amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, employees have shown interest in moving abroad to work or opt for international job assignments.

According to the global Graebel and Wakefield Research survey, 80% of employees were found to show interest in relocating, and just under a third (31%) stated that they would relocate internationally. However, results were higher for those when assessing post-pandemic relocations, with 84% stating they would relocate when COVID-19 has settled, and 46% stating they would relocate internationally.

Further reading: The complete guide to moving abroad as an expat

What questions should you consider for the future of work and employee mobility?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What is your future work strategy post-COVID-19?

Many organisations in the UK and globally are rethinking their employee mobility strategies. The reality in 2021 is employees now want to work in more flexible ways and not be tied to where their employer’s offices or workplaces are located.

2. What short-term and long-term changes do you plan to make to your remote working policies?

Employees opting to relocate internationally may fall under different legal guidelines and tax jurisdictions. Review your existing policies to see how arrangements can be made to offer employees to work internationally without incurring legal or cost implications. Also, bear in mind that employees that are allowed to fulfil a role internationally will require an entirely different set of employee benefits and relocation packages.

3. Who’s involved in your ‘new ways of working’ or ‘future of work’ strategy design?

Make sure you have the right specialists and personnel across your HR, tax/accounting, compliance, and global mobility teams. They will be important in managing an employee’s experience outside of the workplace (i.e. when working from home, remotely, or abroad).

4. Do you have a team set up to meet the needs of your mobile employees?

Mobile workers that are based internationally have completely different needs – especially those with a young family to raise. Enlisting a team of employee benefits specialists can help offer internationally-based workers effective benefits and solutions to meet their needs such as international health insurance.

Review your existing employee benefits plans for employees across the organisation

Employers in 2021 are encouraged to review their existing employee benefits to address the current and future needs of employees. With the COVID-19 situation still prevalent across the UK and the globe, employers have to look at offering solutions that promote health and wellbeing in the workforce. This includes offering flexible working arrangements and options to working remotely and/or internationally.

Looking for more resources?

Download our Global Employee Benefits Trends Report 2020 for the latest benefits trends globally and the forces shaping the employee benefits landscape. Head to our page for more health insurance guides or reach out to our experts for a chat.

Get in touch!

At Pacific Prime UK, our team of corporate experts are well-versed in supporting businesses of all sizes and industries. We can offer business solutions ranging from group health insurance to employee benefits solutions, and more. As time progresses so do the offerings available to businesses. Compare health insurance plans and corporate health insurance/solutions for the UK. Contact us to get started!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in the UK to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for the UK, China, Dubai, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.