Relocating Employees During COVID-19: An Employer’s Guide


The pandemic has shaken up many aspects of running a business, with industries impacted almost universally.

In spite of these exacerbating factors, lots of organizations will still want to relocate employees, both domestically and internationally.

This is challenging at the best of times, but in a post-COVID world there are even more plates to keep spinning. Here is a brief guide to overcoming these challenges so that employee relocation needs can be met.

Image Source: Pixabay

Checking travel restrictions & following guidelines is essential

The situation surrounding the spread of the virus can change and evolve rapidly, and different nations have differing strategies for dealing with it in place, including the management and limitation of travel to and from certain destinations.

Because of this, you should not only check to see which restrictions are in place at the point of proposing the relocation to the employee, but also keep tabs on this regularly in the run-up to the move, so that any changes are accounted for in your plans.

Likewise there may be specific regional and national guidelines on COVID-19 which differ from those of your own, covering everything from social distancing to sanitization and beyond. Reading up on and sticking to these guidelines, as well as passing them on to the employees in question, is a must.

Getting professional assistance is sensible

Choosing employee relocation packages put together by companies that specifically cater to the needs of employers who want to reshuffle their workforce and resources, rather than doing all of the heavy lifting in-house, may be your best bet at this time.

More than anything, you may not have the people power to shoulder the administrative responsibility of making sure that the relocation goes smoothly, especially as a result of all of the potential for disruption being brought about by the current crisis.

Remote work is an option

Another consideration that is increasingly viable in the coronavirus era is that employees may be able to relocate virtually, without actually having to physically up sticks and bundle their families and possessions thousands of miles away from where they are at the moment.

For office-based businesses, the ability to use videoconferencing and virtual meeting platforms to conduct day to day operations, and even run industry events and full-blown product launches, has meant that collaboration between individuals over vast distances is a breeze.

This raises the prospect of carrying out a ‘virtual’ relocation, on a temporary basis, with the idea that an employee will telecommute for their new role, while the nuts and bolts of moving them physically will take place further down the line, once the pandemic is brought under control by the vaccination programs that are being implemented in many areas.

As it may be two or three years before normality truly returns, considering alternatives like this and embracing remote work in general should be enough to allow businesses to meet the needs of their employees and also grow and thrive, without succumbing to the challenges of COVID-19.