What does the word “fernweh” mean? It’s not some version of a vascular green plant nor is it the name of a character in a Tolkien fantasy, although maybe it should have been. Most people have heard the term "wanderlust," but turn that up a few notches and you'll be feeling "fernweh." According to The Daily Skimm' from May 25, it's a German word that describes a feeling that's the opposite of homesickness. Which is exactly what we have all been experiencing over the last 16 months – the intense desire to go travel! For those in the U.S., maybe you were one of the estimated 37 million (thanks to vaccines) that tamped your “fernweh” down a few notches with some travel over this past Memorial Day holiday? Despite many finding their fellow travelers irritating, Memorial Day trips boosted travel comfort and confidence levels, and now a pandemic record-breaking 80% of Americans say they are in a travel-ready state-of-mind! On top of that are predictions of business travel coming back.
We know there are many out there ready to dust off their passports and go explore the world. In fact, many mobility programs are seeing increasing volumes of mobile employees. Clients have shared exciting business initiatives that are beginning to kick into high gear and we are having more discussions on how mobility can better support talent attraction, development and retention (no matter how your company work model has gotten or will get adjusted) as we slowly move toward a post-pandemic environment. In fact, no matter what work model is selected, global mobility can bring solutions to support talent needs within the organization.
"In 2021, the number of Americans moving across county lines will surpass 14.5 million, as everyone settles into their post-pandemic ways of living. That will be more than a 25% increase in out-of-town movers from 2018 when 11.4 million Americans moved across county lines. The last time there was this much cross-county migration was 2004, when 15.3 million Americans moved counties. With the increased prevalence of remote work, many families will be able to move to more affordable areas away from the office."
Knowing that mobility volumes are increasing and could lead to the busiest peak season ever, here are a couple of key things to keep in mind for your mobility program over the next few months as you try to manage everyone's expectations:
- Cost estimates: With high demand and low supply, a variety of issues are currently happening that impact costs from travel expenses, to rental cars, to driver and truck shortages, and gas and lumber upticks that are increasing shipment costs and leading to extended temporary accommodation needs. It is good to get as accurate of an estimate as possible, but still educate your business stakeholders that moving in the current environment may be a little volatile from a cost and experience perspective. If you offer employees real estate support, understand those costs have never been higher, too!
- Authorization lead time: The process still goes better with advanced time to prep and plan! Pack and load dates and delivery dates are all getting longer and longer, some even now out four to eight weeks.
In one of our recent Mobility Mojo newsletters — which is a monthly infusion of relocation news, trends and best practices — we shared some tips for companies and employees to ensure success when moving during "peak season." Sign up for Mobility Mojo here (the next edition comes out June 10!) and tap into our guide that explains how to help your relocating employees prepare for peak moving season amid the ongoing pandemic.
The word fernweh is a combination of the words fern, meaning distance, and wehe, meaning an ache, misery or sickness. It translates to ‘far woe’ or an ache to explore far-flung places. It’s the opposite of heimweh (homesickness), and it’s a pain many of us are feeling now more than ever. As travellers, our natural instinct is to dream of the next place we want to explore. But since we’ve all been playing our part and staying home of late to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, our longing for the great outdoors is stronger than ever. And it’s more than the feeling of ‘wanderlust’ we all know. The Germans gave us that word too, combining the word wandern, meaning wander, and lust, to describe a passion for exploration. While wanderlust expresses a desire for travel, fernweh takes that idea and turns it up a notch. It’s like a knot in your stomach or a wedge in your mind, filling you with a deep longing or even pain that urges you to get outside and discover the nooks and crannies of the planet.