Companies Dishing Out Generous Relocation Packages to Lure Employees Back to the Office

 by Troy Hanson April 20, 2023

In this article, we’ll look at the lengths to which businesses are going to discourage remote work, with some companies offering generous relocation benefits to bring employees back to the office, despite the significant costs involved.

Key Takeaways:

  • Companies like Chevron and Walmart are requiring new hires to work in the office.
  • Relocation assistance is being offered in 3.8 million job listings, up from fewer than 2 million in 2020.
  • Relocation costs can range from $19,000 for a renter to $72,000 for a homeowner, and even up to $97,000 for current employees.
  • Despite the high costs, some companies believe in the value of in-person work and are willing to invest in it.
  • Remote work has shown to improve productivity and mental health for many employees.

The Rising Trend of Relocation Assistance in Job Listings

As the pandemic winds down and businesses look to regain a sense of normalcy, a growing number of companies are offering enticing relocation benefits to persuade employees to return to the office. 

Major players like Chevron and Walmart now require some new hires to work in the office, a departure from the remote-work policies adopted during the pandemic.

According to data from the Wall Street Journal, hiring platforms like ZipRecruiter have noted a significant increase in job listings mentioning relocation assistance. 

The number has almost doubled from fewer than 2 million in 2020 to 3.8 million recent job listings. 

Job search platform Indeed reports that 75% of its job listings now mention relocation benefits.

The current trend suggests that many companies are eager to have their employees return to the physical office. 

They are even willing to spend a significant amount on relocation packages to make it happen.

The High Price Tag of Relocation Assistance

Despite the high costs associated with relocation assistance, companies seem willing to make substantial financial commitments to convince employees to return to the office. 

ARC Relocation, a service that aids businesses in relocating workers, reveals that the costs involved can range from $19,000 for a renter to $72,000 for a homeowner. 

For current employees, the price can soar to $97,000.

William Mulholland, the owner of ARC Relocation, has seen a surge in clients since businesses began mandating remote workers to return to the office. 

The largest expense, he explains, typically comes from realtors who assist employees in buying and selling their homes, with an average commission of $21,000.

Relocation assistance may also cover expenses such as packing and shipping household items and several months’ rent for company housing. 

For some employees, the allure of an onboarding bonus or relocation package is enough to sway their decision to accept a position or relocate.

Appian, a company that operates in cloud computing and is located in Virginia, has given financial support to 109 employees who joined the firm within the last three years to move to Virginia. 

Matt Calkins, the CEO of Appian, has expressed that the company values working in person.

The Debate on In-Office Work and Productivity

The push to bring employees back to the office raises the question of whether in-person work truly improves productivity. 

Some companies seem to believe that the investment in relocation assistance is worthwhile to reestablish the in-office culture they cherish.

However, the data paints a different picture. Remote work has proven beneficial for many employees, leading to increased productivity, improved mental health, and higher retention rates. 

Companies that allow remote work have seen a 22% increase in performance, with 47% of businesses reporting higher productivity levels among remote employees.

Moreover, hybrid work schedules have emerged as a top priority for highly-skilled workers, suggesting that businesses might risk losing their best talent if they insist on a full return to the office. 

Employees who work remotely often report better work-life balance, which contributes to overall job satisfaction and loyalty.

While some employees may feel more productive and engaged in an office setting, the data suggests that, for many, remote work is a viable and even preferable option. 

Businesses must carefully consider the costs and benefits of their approach to remote work and make decisions that best serve both the organization and its employees.

In recent months, several high-profile cases have highlighted the contentious nature of the return-to-office debate. 

The leaders at JPMorgan told their higher-ups that they must come into the office for at least three days each week or else they would face consequences. 

In another instance, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, declared that “the office is not optional” for employees, despite having previously encouraged remote work. 

This message came less than a year after he told Tesla employees to find new jobs if they refused to return to the office.

These examples demonstrate the tensions that can arise between employers and employees when it comes to remote work policies. 

In March, Amazon faced backlash from around 30,000 employees who signed an internal petition protesting the company’s return-to-office mandate. 

Many remote workers fear that a return to the office might negatively affect their productivity and work-life balance.

Abbie Shipp, a professor at Texas Christian University’s business school, describes the current situation as an “ugly war.” 

It’s becoming increasingly clear that businesses and employees may have differing opinions on the best approach to remote work.

Conclusion

As the world continues to adjust to the post-pandemic landscape, companies face a difficult decision: 

Should they invest heavily in bringing employees back to the office or embrace remote work? 

With the rising trend of relocation assistance in job listings, it’s evident that some companies are committed to the in-person work model, despite the associated costs. 

However, data suggests that remote work can lead to increased productivity, improved mental health, and higher employee retention. 

Ultimately, businesses must carefully consider the costs and benefits of their remote work policies and make decisions that serve the best interests of both the organization and its employees.

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