September 29, 2020

Are Your Employees Delocating?

Remote work has many Americans actively engaged in or considering a move

The pandemic-driven shift to remote work has many employees re-thinking the traditional ties between office and home locations.

female-in-office-looking-out-onto-cityscapeWith many major tech giants like Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Salesforce announcing long-term or permanent remote work-from-home policies, employees are no longer beholden to the high cost of living in the Bay Area or other urban markets. Zapier and Stripe were two companies who pioneered taking it one step further: offering cash incentives to employees to move out of high-cost urban centers like San Francisco, New York, or Seattle. For many, such moves will also include an adjustment in pay, based on the cost of living or labor market rates in the new destination of their choice.

It’s a bit premature to say whether these 2020 levels of movement out of major urban hubs will prove to be a temporary, pandemic-influenced trend or a more permanent shift in the real estate landscape, but one thing is certain: a lot of Americans are willing to, actively engaged in or considering a move.

A survey from online job resource hub FlexJobs reports that ditching the commute is now seen as one of the top benefits of remote work, second only to an improved work-life balance, and 27% of respondents report that the ability to work from home has prompted them to consider moving. Other sources report that number to be even higher – ranging from 35% in a survey from online marketplace Fast, up to 39% of urban dwellers in an April Harris Poll of 2,050 U.S. adults.

Taking a more regional look at the numbers, the data in the Fast survey indicate that those considering a delocation for a lower cost of living and a less densely populated area are highest in the Western part of the country, at 43%, compared to 36% in the Northeast, 35% in the South and 22% in the Midwest.

“Space now means something more than square feet,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said. “Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle.”

So, where are the most remote-friendly locations? The National Association of REALTORS® recently assigned work-from-home scores to 3,142 counties in the U.S. The scores are based on nine factors related to internet connectivity, urbanization, office-related jobs, home affordability, and a county's population growth. Topping the list were Forsyth County, Georgia; Douglas County, Colorado; and Los Alamos County, New Mexico.

Clearly, COVID-19 is reshaping workforce trends, implications, and rules. Whether your company is actively engaging in or considering delocation options out from a high-cost HQ city to lower-cost alternatives as a policy offering, or you find that you just have a large number of employees exploring a personal reset in priorities in light of greater flexibility, a new group of unbound talent is on the move.

The good news is they don’t have to go it alone. From real estate rewards programs that offer the professional help of a personal concierge and the benefit of cash back, or expert consulting to help guide conversations about total reward packages and understanding the tax implications of living in one state while working in another, we can help you and your team navigate the new norms.

See additional information on workforce and mobility trends on our resources page.

Would you like to learn more about how we can help? Contact us to schedule a conversation.

 

 
Kristin White

Kristin White

Kristin is Sterling Lexicon's Senior Manager, Content and Campaign Strategy, where she brings more than 25 years of experience in global workforce mobility, marketing, editorial planning and communications to her role. Before joining Sterling Lexicon, she worked for many years at Worldwide ERC® in collaboration with cross-departmental teams and industry stakeholders to develop in-person and virtual event program, website article and print publication content, including Mobility magazine. Contact Kristin at kristin.white@sterlinglexicon.com.

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