International Assignments and COVID-19

Liane Cheyne |
May 19, 2020

For many years international assignments have overwhelmingly been viewed with positivity, both from a business and personal perspective. But the current pandemic is challenging many of our natural assumptions about the need for organizations to have a presence, or to be represented in global locations. Businesses around the world are adapting to remote working and learning to overcome challenges brought about by the unprecedented circumstances we face.

Many organizations are demonstrating high levels of resilience as they find creative ways to continue conducting business in the midst of extreme uncertainty. But we must continue to be mindful of the irreplaceable value international assignments provide as a means of accomplishing strategic business and career objectives. Achieving the best outcomes requires having the best people in the right places.

Top of mind for employees and employers alike are questions around Duty of Care. What will we need to be safe? What will it take for employees and their families to feel safe? An April 2020 Global Pulse Survey conducted by PwC provided insight into how some companies are managing global mobility programs in the midst of COVID-19. Below is a snapshot of steps being taken by respondents from more than 38 countries:

  • Reporting in from home.

    About 50% of respondents are allowing people to begin working on new assignment responsibilities from their home country.

  • Monitoring local policy.

    Companies are closely monitoring regulatory changes to keep current on modifications to home/host location policies.

  • Communication and planning.

    There is a hyper focus on communication with expatriate employees and families to make sure everyone is kept well informed.

  • Know who is where.

    Staying on top of where mobile employees are is critical! It is also important to have clear contact protocols in place to be able to facilitate fast notification in the event of an emergency or changing circumstances.

    While much of this may seem a bit daunting at first glance, the good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help organizations of all sizes begin or continue with strategic global mobility implementation.

    Please contact us to schedule a call or virtual meeting to explore your interest in initiating a global mobility program and potential options available.

  • In the US

    Call +1-703-723-6509 or send a message to [email protected]

  • In the UK

    Call +44-7711-734-015 or send a message to [email protected]

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