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Staff more willing to relocate after the pandemic

The rise in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the increased flexibility of employees, as they are now more willing to relocate for work.

More than a third (37%) of UK employees said they are likely to move to a new location in the next year because they are now able to work remotely, according to new research by Microsoft.

Nick Hedderman, modern work and security business group lead, Microsoft UK, told HR magazine employee willingness to relocate means employers have the opportunity to access a wider talent pool.

He said: "Employers can reduce the reliance on expensive city-centre estates, drop the costs and complexity of relocating key employees and reinvest in the tools and training that will attract and retain the best talent."

Microsoft’s latest global Work Trend Index, The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work - Are We Ready? found the ability to remote work has also led 41% of employees to consider leaving their job next year.

Jennifer Locklear, chief people officer at ConnectWise, said if employers are willing to let employees work flexibly it could open the door to finding new talent.

She told HR magazine: “In spite of the 41% statistic being negative in terms of retention, the opportunity is clear, now is the time to hire top talent.

“Employees are willing to move, both their physical location and their career and this will open a world of employment options and increase our ability to hire different backgrounds, perspectives and experience from anywhere we choose.”

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The report found that globally, employees want the best of both worlds, as 73% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 67% are craving more in-person time with their teams.

To prepare, 66% of employers said they are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.

Locklear said remote work will give HR the chance to diversify teams in a way not as easily accessible before.

She said: “To avoid the unintended consequence of only providing connection opportunities for those who can get into the physical workspace in a hybrid model, employers should consider investing in global peer-recognition tools that will allow team members to recognise remote co-workers for a job well done.

“Employers can show a commitment to fostering a strong remote/hybrid workforce by offering training programmes on how to work effectively with different cultures.”