Global mobility during a pandemic

Global mobility during a pandemic that continues to close international borders makes me think of ice. Frozen. Not moving.

Would you be willing to move to a different country for work during COVID-19? Would it be easy for you to move?

With 2020 being a life-changing year for everyone, it left us scrambling for new ways to socialize, work, learn, and have fun.

Countries enforcing strict orders for their citizens to minimize the spread of the virus causes us to wonder what will happen to Global Mobility with the extended COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Mobility vs. Pandemic

Multinational corporations have the capacity to move their employees to office spaces in different nations as they see fit, feeding global mobility in a big way. With COVID-19 changing the way the world works and causing a complete lockdown of cities, borders, and ports in some countries, it causes us to wonder how global mobility will look while this pandemic rages.

Some employees have been left stranded in host countries, and others struggle to find food and pay rent as they can no longer travel to neighboring cities for work. There has been a disruption of global supply chains, forcing new development of local ones in a bid to fill the gap.

While globalization is going nowhere, organizations and international chains have realized that many operations can still be efficiently and effectively run virtually or locally. This will result in environmental and financial gains as companies explore even further the benefits of executing projects without crossing borders.

Corporations would need to continue to find unique and efficient ways to handle their staff that would naturally be relocated for work. One of the most popular solutions would be assigning employees to work from home. Their system could be set to the country they are to work in to begin training and preparing for their role in a different country.

They could also start language training now, instead of waiting until they arrive in the new country. Given the several travel bans the CDC has placed on some countries, it is hard to say when global mobility will go back to normal (although as of Feb 2021 there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel).

Challenges with Global Mobility

Relocation has come (almost) to a grinding halt. Persons can no longer relocate to Brazil as their borders are closed, and India is now in a state of lockdown. Though persons were able to move to Russia with the unpredictability of COVID-19, family members were left behind for their safety.

Language training has now become a golden ticket, used as a placeholder for the individual whose relocation has been pushed back as far as the end of 2021. There is the isolated case of some employees relocating to Lithuania, where the offices are in a much smaller town. However, they still insist on learning Lithuanian online, regardless of how close the teachers are.

As unpredictable as things have been, the innovation of online language training has been a blessing in disguise for many. Zoom meetings, group chats, and all-around non-physical communication have now become the heart of most, if not all, major corporations.

There is also a heavy focus on having employees learn online about the country’s language, work ethic, and cultural norms. Though most inquiries about language training include persons who have already been relocated and just need some quick polishing in their second language, some persons have yet to be relocated. They aim to start their language training online now, to make for an easier transition when it’s time for relocation.

Will Global Mobility Ever be the Same?

While we all hope that we can eventually see the back of this pandemic, it is hard to predict the future with cases rising and countries being even more reluctant to open borders. Our only hope to ride out the storm is that technology will continue to bring people closer together, regardless of where they are in the world. With contactless services and cooperation from companies and employees alike, there are ways to still facilitate the preparation and relocation of persons globally for work.

Want to get started on language training before your move or with your extra time, now that you’re not commuting to and from work? Drop us a line at Fluency Corp to discuss a language training schedule to help your company prepare for an international relocation.

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