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ANNUAL ATLAS VAN LINES STUDY REVEALS PANDEMIC’S IMPACT ON CORPORATE RELOCATION AND CHANGING FUTURE OF WORK
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (May 25th, 2021) — Today, Atlas® Van Lines, Inc., one of the nation’s leading movers, published its 54th annual Corporate Relocation Survey, capturing a fascinating look into the pandemic’s impact on the world of relocation and workforce mobility. Additionally, the study includes comprehensive relocation policy data from industry professionals operating in North American companies and managing employee relocations as part of their job function.
For the analysis, participating firms are categorized by size:
2020 was a challenging year for the relocation industry, with one in three firms indicating relocation volumes decreased overall. This year, 420 decision-makers completed an
- Small: Fewer than 500 salaried employees (32%)
- Mid-size: 500-4,999 salaried employees (35%)
- Large: 5,000+ salaried employees (34%)
online questionnaire between January 14 and March 1. Sixty percent work in services in relocation/mobility service departments, 20% in manufacturing/processing and 9% do financial work. Among firms relocating employees internationally, nearly 40% saw decreases in international volumes last year.
While almost half of the respondents saw budgets increase in 2020, this was necessary as companies responded to the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly two in three companies say the pandemic was the most significant external factor that impacted relocations last year.
Even with the challenges of 2020, the outlook for 2021 is optimistic, with approximately half of the firms expecting increases in both overall and international relocation volumes and relocation budgets. Below are additional trends and findings identified in this year’s Corporate Relocation Survey.
Due to COVID-19, companies relocated employees at much lower rates for work assignments in the U.S. and abroad. It is clear COVID-19 was a deciding factor in moving patterns in 2020, having a unique impact on moving trends. Key findings from surveyed firms surrounding COVID-19 include:
- Nine out of 10 made changes to relocation policy/programs due to COVID-19 last year and anticipate making additional changes in 2021.
- Health concerns/illness/COVID-19 pandemic was the top reason cited by employees declining relocations in 2020, both overall and internationally.
- More than half say COVID-19 increased the complexity of relocation administration and made relocating employees more difficult in 2020.
- Nine out of 10 say they asked relocation providers to perform additional services to meet employee needs due to COVID-19.
Employee accommodations have been popular among firms in the recent past, but with COVID-19 disrupting the typical work-life balance, accommodations surrounding childcare, partner/spouse, caretaker, and more became essential. Firms assisted employees in the following ways in 2020:
The Future of Work
- 78% offered childcare assistance for relocating employees while 72% provided accommodations for elder care—both increasing again over last year’s largest percentage measured for these accommodations.
- Offering additional incentives or non-standard exceptions to encourage relocation acceptance increased for a third straight year.
- Companies offered more spouse/partner employment assistance both overall and internationally.
- Alternative assignment use reached the highest level historically, with accommodating employee needs the top reason for use.
While the world pressed pause in 2020, companies juggled safety needs and the economic pressures of the pandemic to keep business going, even if the physical movement of talent slowed markedly. Looking ahead, companies indicate a readiness to be flexible but persistent in keeping their employees connected and working together. Creative arrangements and timetables for relocation continue, but the view for 2021 is a working world ready to get moving. Firms indicated the following about the future of work:
For this year’s complete survey results, visit the Atlas Van Lines Corporate Relocation Survey results online at www.atlasvanlines.com/Corporate-Relocation/Survey. A PDF booklet of critical findings, charts, and the comprehensive survey is also available for download here.
About Atlas® Van Lines, Inc.
Atlas® Van Lines, Inc., a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas® World Group, Inc., an Evansville, Indiana-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. Over 430 Atlas interstate moving agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the specialized transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, store fixtures, and furniture. For more information, visit www.atlasvanlines.com.