Aires’ fifth survey in our COVID-19 series finds that while some employees have returned to their offices, many are still working from home and likely will continue working from home well into 2021. The 79 survey participants represented a wide variety of industries and organizations of all sizes.
While almost half of survey respondents report returning some employees to work, 40% believe that some employees will continue to work from home until Q1 2021, Q2 2021, or beyond. Companies with different locations report different plans depending on local conditions and guidelines, and more than 40% report that return-to-office is voluntary. One out of every five survey participants believe that some employees may never return to their office. Most believe it is still too soon to tell, but 30% agree that if more employees continue work-from-home, less office space will be the result.
The survey also indicates that very few companies have made policy changes as a result of the pandemic. Only 3% of survey respondents confirm making some kind of change, with changes centered on reducing costs and paying lump sums in lieu of benefits. Almost half of respondents confirm granting exceptions as a result of the pandemic, most often in the form of temporary accommodations (63%) and extending the time frame from incurring relocation expenses beyond one year (44%). There are other exceptions noted (such as extended storage, cash allowances, home sale exceptions, etc.), all to a much less degree.
On a positive note, nine out of every 10 survey respondents confirm their post-pandemic acceptance rates for relocations/assignments are no different than pre-pandemic rates, supporting the continued willingness of employees to accept new positions and relocate.
Not as positive are the impacts that the U.S. European travel ban and the suspension of the H1B, J, and L visas is having on employee mobility. Forty percent of survey respondents believe the European travel ban will have a negative impact on their mobility program and/or talent acquisition abilities. Even more (74%) believe that the suspension of the U.S. work visas will negatively impact mobility and talent acquisition.
The survey also questioned how home leave is being impacted and what alternatives are being offered. Only about one-half of respondents confirmed that home leaves have been impacted. Those that have assignees with impacted home leave schedules are either postponing the benefit to be used at a later date (74%), allowing a trip to an alternate location (23%), forfeiting the trip (20%), or paying a cash allowance in lieu of (6%).
Finally, the survey asked about required quarantine. For locations that may require quarantine (beyond recommended self-quarantine), one-third of respondents said that expenses related to a required quarantine would be covered, while more than half said expenses could possibly be covered. These types of decisions are often made depending on the circumstance and the local requirements, and typically include temporary living and daily living type expenses.
Aires will continue to provide frequent updates and monitor client programs as the COVID-19 situation progresses. To view the full Pulse Survey, please visit this link.