Post-Pandemic Study: People Still Like to Continue Working Globally

Global mobility took a hard hit when the COVID-19 virus spread like wildfire in the Year 2020. Global mobility professionals took notice of the impact of the pandemic on global employees.

Multiple institutions had conducted their own studies and discovered consistent trends concerning global workers and the effect that Covid-19 had made for them. For example, the ESCP Research Institute of Management (ERIM) discovered that 2 out of 3 of its respondents perceived their role differently after the outbreak. Most of them attributed remote work as an indicator of the quality of change they have experienced in their work roles.

Another study highlights how remote work allows employees across the globe to work effectively at home. This ability has given expatriates the option to work virtually in their home countries. That’s why the pandemic has disrupted the global mobility realm, significantly influencing the expat outlook.

Additionally, research by Judit Végh, Joyce Jenkins, and Professor Marie-Therese Claes, explores the experiences of over 600 expatriates in 48 countries in different phases of the pandemic. The researchers found shifts in motivation and priorities due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Transitional lives of expats

During the first phase of the research, the proponents explored the impact of the pandemic on the transnational lives of expatriates. One remarkable finding was that despite the challenges of living in a host country amid a pandemic, 74% of respondents reported that they were likely or very likely to continue working abroad. Some thought that the pandemic was just another challenge that expatriates were accustomed to. 

When news on border closures and tighter travel restrictions dominated Social Media, Three-fourths of the respondents decided to stay in their host countries. However, others reported they were confused about whether staying in their host country to work will be the better option than returning home.

In the second phase of the research, the proponents created a follow-up questionnaire for respondents after a few months of the pandemic. The majority of the respondents remained positive and considered that working abroad was still valuable amid an ongoing pandemic. Many expatriates highlighted that building work relationships and diversity of ideas and inputs were reasons they found value in deciding to stay in their host countries.

Reaching the end of the Year 2020, another follow-up was conducted. It aimed to dig deeper into the overall experience of the respondents over the course of 9 months during the pandemic. 

One theme identified was the direction of the future. Many expatriates expressed their fears because of the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. Based on the narratives of the respondents, the direction of the future is found to be challenging and demands extra caution from expatriates.

A global identity shift

True enough, today’s expatriates are living in a world where global identity is an evolved concept as Covid-19 continues to exist. Sam Tubito, a 4th-generation global nomad, shares the same sentiments. 

All her life, her experience as a global worker has led her to bring her family of 6 wherever she worked. Pre-pandemic period, relocation for work has been planned and timed perfectly for her and her family. 

Just two years ago, Sam’s husband’s work situation changed unexpectedly which entailed an abrupt move for the family. The timing was less than ideal since their children were in crucial phases of their education. Tubito decided to remain with her children for their education while her husband worked in Italy in early January 2020. 

Currently, the Tubito family is spread across the globe. Their eldest child decided to stay in Oregon after finishing College. The second is finishing her degree in California while the third just started his College studies in Spain. Mr. Tubito remained in Italy but now is accompanied by his wife and their youngest.

Sam Tubito recognizes that the changes brought by the pandemic have redefined global identity. The rise of remote work and the creation of virtual assignments have definitely modified the way global professionals view their career paths.

The ability of technology to make international remote work possible and the governments’ recognition around the globe of it have drastically changed the business sector. The phrase “the world is your oyster” has transformed now that people can explore international work and educational opportunities.