New global survey reveals remote working could boost talent retention

Nearly half of employees surveyed by Globalization Partners feel happier at work since going remote

New research from HR software provider Globalization Partners found that 63% of global firms involved in the study plan to make remote work a “permanent fixture” following COVID-19, where employee sentiment reveals that offering remote working could boost talent retention.

The survey found that 48% of employees feel “happier about work since working remotely“, where 50% of respondents said a good work-life balance was a “key factor in contributing to their employee experience.” In addition to this, 41% said being part of a team was important.

Another 44% of employee respondents said they plan to stay more than five years at their current company, which, considering that 48% of employees feel happier about their jobs since working remotely, suggests that remote work as a policy could help companies retain talent in the long-term.

For most employee respondents in the survey, remote working doesn’t mean country relocation, which saves businesses the stress of dealing with tax risks if employees are working overseas. In this regard, 68% of global employees said they stayed in the same location while working for the same company during COVID-19.

This shows that employees are generally looking for more work/life balance via remote work rather than an overseas experience in their remote roles, where 22% have relocated locally or plan to. However, there is a significant minority that have moved overseas or plan to, (17%) while 10% plan to relocate overseas within the next 12 months after the pandemic ends.

These findings show that employers can’t assume that a hybrid model will be enough to retain employees where many have reported greater job wellbeing since working remotely during the pandemic. Furthermore, employers shouldn’t outlaw hiring employees just because they’re based overseas, as sourcing the best talent should be the priority for all firms.

Neither can employers ignore the mental health challenges that working remotely during COVID-19 has brought to many and should ensure mental health and general wellbeing support is offered to staff remotely as well as digital bonding exercises to ensure they still feel part of a team.

Commenting on Google and the likelihood of remote working pay cuts in the UK, Susan Kelly, Partner in the employment practice at Winckworth Sherwood, said: “Hybrid working and permanent remote working could create enquiries and challenges from a compensation perspective. The news that Google employees in the US may get a pay cut if they opt to work from home permanently is reflective of the wider employment conversations that are happening and not just in the private sector. Earlier this week, the UK Government had to deny that they would be taking away a salary boost awarded to London-based civil servants.

“It is our belief that employers will, of course, have discussions around compensation measures when there are differences in working locations but ultimately putting any measures into practice may prove too complex. It’s also worth noting that many of those who choose to continue working from home will be those with caring responsibilities and it is widely and judicially accepted that women still bear the brunt of childcare, so employers could risk entering into the territory of indirect discrimination. It could also be perceived that potentially cutting the pay of the less well paid – the majority of whom tend to live in less expensive areas – is hardly consistent with the increasingly important ESG agenda.”

Nicole Sahin, CEO, and Founder, Globalization Partners, said: “Global teams will continue to grow in diversity as remote working culture embeds itself in the majority of businesses long term. To succeed in a jobs environment without frontiers and where skilled employees will have greater choice than ever, employers will need to build their global reach, processes, and capabilities. It’s vital to identify the best talent wherever it can be found, and those companies who can build successful international teams will be ideally placed to succeed in the post-pandemic economy.”

Bob Cahill, CFO, Globalization Partners, added: “The remote work trend has resulted in many positive benefits, but still there are some challenges, particularly with respect to taxes, which have become an area of concern for companies. While there had been somewhat of a lenient approach when employees had to work in different jurisdictions due to travel restrictions, such flexibilities are not permanent. As companies look to navigate the emerging tax risks as a result of remote working, our solution provides a way to compliantly support talent no matter where they are in the world.”

To read the survey results in full, click here.

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