COVID-19 has presented companies across the world with unique challenges. Given the nature of the pandemic, many industries had to swiftly adapt to brand new ways of working â€“ specifically, remote working. After an entire year of working from home, nationwide eligibility for the COVID vaccine has finally given humanity a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. But as we re-enter the office, one question remains, what role will physical spaces play in 2021?
Planning and decisions regarding your companyâ€™s physical spaces, including headquarters and office buildings, regional branches and warehouse space, are intertwined with your broader strategy and have more of a direct role in mobility planning.
While it will make sense for some companies with most employees working from home to consolidate office space and centralize operations, likeÂ Gap Inc. in San FranciscoÂ announced recently, others will see a need to move away from a large office tower and into smaller, regional branch offices with shorter commutes and more direct access to business activity centers to better achieve their goals.
Outdoor retailer REI is such an example when it changed directions on developing an 8-acre central corporate campus in Bellevue, Washington, in favor of a â€śheadquarters that will span multiple satellites across the greater Seattle area,â€ť according to its CEO Eric Artz.
Gap Inc. announced that Old Navy employees who now have their own corporate offices in Mission Bay, California, will be moving in with parent company Gap Inc. at its headquarters in Embarcadero.
Gap positioned its moveÂ as fostering a more agile and collaborative work environment. Its consolidation is also aligned with other corporate efforts, including store closures, to cut costs and generate growth. Financial analysts note such moves as positives for the Gap margin as it also positions itself for more online sales with plans to build aÂ new distribution centerÂ in Longview, Texas.
Any required corporate relocation will require operational and human resource changes that can affect a companyâ€™s bottom line â€” and employee loyalty â€” for years to come.
In such cases, organizations will want to remain nimble in office relocation decisions while also coordinating such moves with human resource goals to retain top employees. Offering strong relocation benefits through custom, tiered plans, and working with global,Â established corporate mobility expertsÂ will help continue to build operational efficiencies amid your transition as well as company culture and employee loyalty.
In 2021, many companies are prioritizing building resilience after identifying gaps in business contingency protocols amid the pandemic. A way to stabilize benefits for employees affected by relocation is engaging with anÂ external mobility provider with a well-established supply chainÂ to ensure seamless transitions.
Allied Van Linesâ€™ parent company Sirva notes that mobility trends expected this year include leaner and more agile mobility services as well as an increasingly active role for on-demand mobility services in organizational strategy and oversight.
Work from home and mobility benefits
â€śThe productivity metric is proving that remote work is working,â€ť says Erik Bradley, chief strategist at Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), in anÂ article on Forbes.com. â€śSo, we all thought that there would be some increase in permanent remote work, but we didnâ€™t expect that to double from pre-pandemic levels.â€ť
An ETR survey recently showed that it is expected to double, with a Gartner CFO survey noting that 74% of CFOs plan to permanently shift employees to remove work after the COVID-19 crisis ends, withÂ Big Tech companies like Google, Uber, Zillow, Twitter, and Square leading the way.
As your operations and HR teams review and adjust corporate benefits to fit the times, keep three points in mind.
Retaining top talent will continue to be a priority. With more companies embracing a flexible work-from-home model, highly qualified employees will have even more options to choose from to enhance their quality of life. Conduct internal research or poll current high-value employees and candidates who are most critical to your companyâ€™s success for their career motivations and goals to inform any benefit adjustments.
Work-from-home habits and preferences are likely to outlast the pandemic. As employee demands and needs continue to evolve, 2021 will bring new virtual work policies and company benefits to accommodate new ways of working such as remote office setups, travel policies, and moving benefits.
For insight into what other companies are thinking, Sirva conducts regular mobility outlook market surveys. As recently asÂ Q4 2020, results show:
38% believe relocation volumes will return to pre-COVID levels in 6-18 months
46% are still unsure if they will allow permanent work-from-home in lieu of relocation
65% of executives and 42% of middle-management employees will continue to relocate
37% are struggling to hire local resources in the host/destination location
Nimbleness is key, as 2021 is likely to be another year of major transitions.Â Some analysts make the case that supporting remote work and more flexible benefits as a long-term strategy can serve as a standard for greater business resilience to any future disruptions.
Erica Volini, the global human capital leader at Deloitte, says in a recentÂ ABC News article that in Deloitteâ€™s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report, just 15% of the 3,600 senior executives who responded felt that they were prepared for the pandemic. Those leaders also noted that the ability of their workers to adapt, learn new skills, and take on new roles are top factors in their companyâ€™s ability to navigate future disruptions, even more, critical than access to capital.
So as high performers continue to drive adaptability and progress, how do we support them fairly throughÂ flexibility in benefits such as mobility programs? Should companies pay for (or partially pay for) employees who want to relocate away from a corporate office for an enhanced quality of life?
HR teams for larger organizations often establish tiered benefits packages for employees based on factors including tenure, the purpose for relocation (personal or business-driven), destination location, and employee preference.
Sirva.comâ€™s articleÂ on considerations in tiered mobility programs offers a way forward and examples of ways to build flexibility and fairness into corporate benefits.
There is a great deal of responsibility for leadership to ensure workplaces are safe and productive, while actively creating more positive experiences for talent. As 2021 continues to test the worldâ€™s standard for normalcy, it is up to organizations and their leaders to set the standard for reimagining adaptable workspaces.
Are you focused on preparing your company for what comes next? Get ahead and download Alliedâ€™s latest white paper, Back to the Future: 2021 Business Trends. This white paper looks at anticipated 2021 business trends, evaluating how mobility planning can help keep your company ahead of the curve in the following key areas:
Business model innovation
Rebalancing the global-local supply chain
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
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You have been wonderful to work with. I was told you would be in contact with me during the move and you definitely kept the promise. Itâ€™s nice to know people meet and exceed expectations. Paul and I are happy with our experience and will definitely use you in the future should we move again.Thank you!
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Compliments to Everyone!I am very satisfied with driver Barney and Al. My compliments to everyone
We are settled in, and have time to consider how easily the move was from Vonore, TN to Lansing, MI.The move not nearly as hectic as we thought it would be, this is in part due to the excellent performance by your people, namely Justin Schott the group leader. Justin had a handle on the entire move. Justinâ€™s concerns were that the items be handled carefully and that they be placed where the client wanted them. Tim and Xavier are fine gentlemen, they too had the same concerns as Justin. Cody and Joe did their best to pack our goods so as to have little damage.The named are a credit to the Carey Moving Company. We are happy that we named you folks to do our transfer, thank you.
Frank and Mary Thomas
Pat-As mentioned we have not fully unpacked yet so hopefully all things are here. Other than that confirmation, the fellows who moved us were extremely courteous and mannerly. Much appreciated. They were very careful about not scratching the walls. They were also careful to ask where items should be placed. They arrived on time for delivery.
I would like the manager of the Arden office to know that the staff that handled our move into your storage facility was superb. Kim explained everything very clearly up front and there were no nasty surprises thereafter. Brian bossed the packing day and the loading day with ease and grace and I cannot tell you how relieved I was to know I was in good hands. The others, Lori, Doug, Tom, and Bob were also very good at what they do. Thank you. I look forward to delivery as soon as we find a place. Thank you.
Karen Coler, Hendersonville, NC
I received my shipment on Sunday Feb 23rd. All items were in perfect shape. It was a great experience working with your company. Patrick was very helpful and knowledgeable. Being that I was in South Carolina for a very short time, he succeeded in getting everything set up in a timely manner to be packed and put on the truck. The packers were very nice and efficient and obviously packed items very well. The driver was thoughtful and called me several times to assure me that my items were on the way. He was friendly and efficient when he dropped off the boxes. You were very kind and helpful every time I called with a question and quickly handled all the paperwork.Please pass on our thanks and appreciation to all the people involved in the transport of our items.
Hi again!I need to tell you that I am very pleased with the move. All is great!The gentlemen, Barnie and Allen were absolutely terrific. Very pleasant,careful, patient and hard working.I will recommend Allied for sure!Thanks, LoriHendersonville, NC to Westwood, MAMary Daniels