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The future of mobility: Embracing virtual working­

November 2020 PwC Virtual Workforce Survey insights

Mobility programs have been the engine of multinational businesses to get the right talent in the right location for decades. But what constitutes ‘mobility’? Nontraditional types of mobility that do not require a formal relocation to another city or country were already exponentially growing before the global pandemic. Enter COVID and the new generation of what it means to be ‘mobile’ − remote work arrangements.

View previous findings:

Are these arrangements a ‘game changer’?

A crisis-driven imperative to quickly facilitate virtual working/working from home on a global scale has shown that working virtually at scale is achievable, and for many employees, desirable. Lockdown measures and travel restrictions will ease, but there has been a fundamental shift in our feelings towards virtual working and many will have lingering concerns on their wellbeing in a crowded office or commuting environment.

The bottom line? Virtual working is becoming the ‘new normal’ and organisations need to embrace it. Over 50% of companies polled in our November survey indicated that their organization already has a policy for remote work arrangements. Remote work arrangements are much broader than traditional mobility programs, and can be an alternative to them. Companies that implement remote work policies can define what ‘remote’ means by tailoring it to their specific needs and business.


Please select the answer that best describes your company's remote work arrangement policy.


One policy that applies to Domestic Remote Work Arrangements only
%
One policy that applies to International Remote Work Arrangements only
%
One policy that applies to both Domestic and International Remote Work Arrangements
%
Separate policies for Domestic and International Remote Work Arrangements
%

Source: PwC Virtual Workforce Survey insights, November 2020
base of 100

Mobility policies range widely

Companies should clarify specific criteria, including duration (is the remote work temporary and/or permanent?) as well as location, such as within the United States or within a certain number of miles away from a physical business location. Criteria also should include roles and responsibilities, i.e., specifying those that will fit effectively within remote work parameters.

Although there could be many employees that would want to take advantage of such an arrangement, its scope may be limited to those roles that can be successfully performed without a full-time company office/facility presence and/or do not present regulatory, licensing, or even intellectual property considerations. In addition, there will likely be employees, such as young employees new to the workforce, who will not want to utilize remote work and instead seek an in-person experience.

How many employees do you expect to have remote work arrangements in a year?


Indefinite
Temporary

Less than 10% of global employees
%
%
Less than 20% of global employees
%
%
Less than 30% of global employees
%
%
Less than 40% of global employees
%
%
Less than 50% of global employees
%
%
More than 50% of global employees
%
%

Source: PwC Virtual Workforce Survey insights, November 2020
base of 100

A new type of mobility

Virtual assignments have emerged as the latest mobility “type," from assignments and transfers starting virtually to completing the entire assignment from another location. There is still much to assess and set regulations for, even after travel restrictions are lifted.

No ‘one size’ remote worker policy fits all companies, but the upfront effort to get a tailored fit could yield a win-win situation for the company and its talent base due to the strategic business advantages reaped for years and even decades to come. These policies could serve to differentiate those businesses that are agile enough to embrace change quickly and seamlessly.

Are you considering a virtual assignment policy?

Source: PwC Virtual Workforce Survey insights, November 2020
base of 100

How are companies planning for remote work arrangements?

Benchmark your organization against your peers. Our interactive dashboard lets you filter the results by industry sector, company HQ region and respondent location. All survey responses have been aggregated and anonymised.

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About the survey

PwC launched a global survey to understand how companies are planning their remote work arrangement policies and adapting to the changing needs of their workforce. The survey was open from November 11-25, 2020 and 300 companies participated.

Contact us

Eileen Mullaney

Principal, Leader, PwC US

­Kathy McDermott

Global Mobility Principal, PwC US

Sam Cranmer

Global Mobility Director, PwC US

Amanda McIntyre

Global Mobility Principal, PwC US

­Andrew Gaudin

Global Mobility Principal, PwC US

Eden Crouch

Global Mobility Manager, PwC US

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