Cost of Living & Commuting – Why Your Employees Aren’t…

How many of us actually enjoy moving when required, as by HR to relocate? There’s even a moving site on the web that contemplates why people hate moving. We point this out just to illustrate the costs of relocation to employees as well as employers.

relocation and transfer

From #moving on Pinterest

“It might sound strange, but there are plenty of well known psychologists that will tell you moving is so stressful that it comes second to death itself,” the site explains.

Seriously- some companies are having a hard time convincing employees to move because of rising costs of living.

The experience of Vevo, the world’s leading music video platform with top talent like Jennifer Hudson and The Chainsmokers, is instructive.

In a CNBC Make It interview, Chief People Officer Colleen McCreary noted, “If I can’t find them living here (San Francisco) already, we look for that great candidate in Kansas City or Idaho. Then, they run a cost of living calculator.”

That’s when convincing a prospective employee to move to their San Francisco location becomes challenging. Her own experience shows why. Before moving into her current Bay Area home, McCreary lived in a two-bedroom San Francisco condo she owned with her husband, son and sister. McCreary went on to say that she and her husband split their bedroom with their son while her sister took the other room. They stayed in that living arrangement for two years.

For millennials and younger workers, a reason why some eschew relocation is offered by internet firm Rokt CEO Bruce Buchanan, “They’re young and single, and want to be where people with a like-minded lifestyle want to be.”

Meanwhile, employees are becoming more mindful of commuting costs as well, in terms of fuel or time spent. In Texas A&M’s publicized Urban Mobility Scorecard, $160 billion in time and fuel are used up in traffic congestion just on US roads alone – or more than two weeks’ worth of work (42 hours) in traffic yearly per commuter.

traffic congestion

Companies at times pay a substantial price for relocations and transfers.

According to the workplace mobility association, Worldwide ERC, an employee relocation or transfer can cost an employer upwards of $85,000.

costs of employee relocation

Worldwide ERC

While relocation may be needed in some circumstances, flexible working and anywhere working are possible now, even in fields like health and medicine through telehealth consultations and remote work. Tech tools like project management apps, video conferencing and group chat are making collaboration possible while allowing workers to serve the areas in which they live and that need their services.

From a corporate responsibility or CSR standpoint, letting employees work remotely can also help with family needs such as caring for children or family members, while helping employees and companies reduce their environmental and social impact from commuting. Remote work today can be a win-win for employers as well as employees.