There are a growing number of workers who are choosing to relocate due to the flexibility that telecommuting offers. A new report suggests that more than 1 in 10 Americans have moved during the pandemic, with remote work being the primary reason for the move. However, dispersion of the workforce creates challenges for managers who are leading employees in different time zones and working conditions. Here are three remote work relocation issues that have companies struggling.
The Three Most Common Relocation Issues Faced by Companies Post-Pandemic
Many employees face technical difficulties when transitioning from one location to another. Those moving to remote areas are finding out that reliable internet is not a given. Many sites do not offer quiet, private space with reliable Wi-Fi, and employees find it difficult to find productive work environments when relocating. Research suggests that less-structured work environments share a connection with decreased productivity made worse by the distractions of living in vacation destinations. As a result, some employers prefer to use time-tracking software to keep tabs on employees who are all over the world. The software is an excellent tool for keeping team members on task.
To comply with jurisdiction laws where employees are doing their jobs, managers must know where their employees are working and when they are working. A challenge of managing a remote workforce is visibility. It is hard to keep track of remote employees.
Labor laws concerning overtime pay and minimum wage often differ between jurisdictions, determining how managers supervise employees. States use different wage thresholds to determine overtime eligibility leading to some employees being over or underpaid. Managers are also responsible for providing meal and rest breaks to employees depending on the state in which the employee is working.
When workers relocate, there are implications concerning the employees’ health benefits. Health benefits are, after all, one of the ways that organizations compensate their employees. Employers choose an insurance carrier, typically basing their decision on the quality of the provider networks in the areas where they have the most employees. Employers want to give their employees a choice. It is challenging for those businesses with most employees in one location to find low-cost, in-network provider options for their employees who relocate.
A move to a permanently dispersed workforce will make the task of providing affordable, high-quality health benefits challenging for companies. For example, employers might pursue health coverage on a universal level, which will be complex and burdensome. In addition, remote employees might need supplemental coverage. Although this sounds like more expensive health care, telemedicine will remain a common practice. Also preparing for this will help to keep the costs down in the future.
Managers must establish clear guidelines for employees who wish to relocate for remote work. In addition, managers should consult with human resources to confirm that employees’ moving plans will not violate regulatory issues before they approve plans to relocate.
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