Enhanced Assignee Support in the Time of Coronavirus 

The spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus has made many companies rethink the use of their resources. Leaders and managers are turning to cost-cutting in order to slow down any disruption of revenue, which can be caused by vanishing customers who would rather put their money on essentials like food and water. 

Global mobility managers, however, might end up doing the opposite, and invest and spend more on ensuring that their roster of assignees stabilize, perform, and succeed. A high-performing assignee is a valuable asset and can contribute to the company’s profitability as well as the return of their own ROI.

For assignees who are already on-ground and have been working for some time, SIRVA Relocation Worldwide and Moving says that they will experience some changes as the organization adapts to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Those changes, in turn, will cost additional money. 

One example can be costs associated with work-at-home arrangements. If the assignee is compelled to work in their own accommodations, the company might have to spend a bit more for additional infrastructure, mobile devices, internet access, etc. It’s one thing to work at home eight hours a day, instead of an occasional weekend. 

That means that the internet capabilities and other technological support of the assignee at their living space have to be on the same high standard as their office’s. 

The assignee’s health insurance might also change to accommodate testing and treatment for COVID-19 just in case they contract it. The same benefit must also be provided to their family living with them. While the company might see this as optional, the chances are high that the assignee will ask for it.

If the assignee’s children are living with them, temporary and/or long-term quarantine mandated by their school can result in additional spending as well. The parent assignee would have to coordinate with the school authorities in this regard, with the help of the global mobility manager. 

Distance-learning modules and other learning materials, or a mobile device, might have to be included as part of the assignee’s compensation package. The same holds true if the assignee deems it necessary to hire a tutor.

Johnston Carmichael names a temporary location or housing as a possible additional expense. For example, the assignee, who is based in California, is giving a seminar in another state or town, when the local health authorities suddenly deem it a hot zone. 

Although the assignee themselves are not sick, that town declares a two-week quarantine which forbids people to enter or leave it. What started as a two-day seminar stretches into two weeks. The global mobility manager would have to extend the assignee’s stay in their hotel or relocate them to a less costly one. Additional funds for day-to-day living would have to be sent to them. The usual allowances for gas and internet usage would also have to be increased. 

Finally, in making the budget for additional support, it is best to project a time period from one to three months. No one knows how long this crisis will last. It is time to hunker down and plan for every contingency our assignees might encounter.