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| 3 minutes read

How is increased stress impacting mobility programs?

The pandemic has created an incredible amount of change (at times even havoc and chaos) and has required us to make adjustments to almost everything we do. Many emotions have challenged our mental health. We have all had to address feelings of fear, sadness, grief, loss, confusion, anger, annoyance, worry, frustration...all of which add to the overall load of stress that we normally carry and bear each day, week, month and year. Then add a relocation or an international assignment on top of all that and you realize that being a mobile employee in today's working environment could put some people over the top and even create “moments of meltdown.”

When considering the mobile employee experience and working to improve it, high stress has always been a key element that mobility programs and industry providers have sought to better understand and make efforts to minimize. Those of us in global mobility know about the elevated levels of stress associated with moving and have worked to address some of those challenges and stages to improve the journey. For a few examples of some of our thinking around the subject, check out these previous posts:

Since the start of the pandemic, we have continued to work to highlight insights on how the employee experience is being impacted by the increased stress load on employees, mobility teams, supply chain partners...everyone! We surveyed relocating employees and asked them for their advice on moving amid the pandemic — one relocating employee to another. Check out these seven tips for relocating in a challenging environment! A year ago, we talked about how uncertainty and anxiety were translating into more stress for relocating employees (and most everyone else). Then along came the "double summer" where pent-up moves were unleashed and combined with all the other supply chain issues. This created some additional stressful issues related to cost, availability, timing and communication such that the only thing there has been no shortage of is...stress! (For those who like extra credit: explore the topic further by going to our Trending Topics page and do a key word search on "stress").

Now Gallup has just come out with their State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report that reveals that U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world. According to that report, "With global borders closing, workplaces shuttering and jobs being cut, workers' daily stress reached a record high, increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. Leaders and managers at every level should address this as it could lead to increased burnout, upset and disengagement." Gallup advises that whether stress is high, moderate or low, leaders must address the mental and emotional impact on employees or risk high levels of burnout and lower productivity. BambooHR developed this infographic to help explain how Gallup's insights relate to the current upward trend in employee burnout.

Today’s big issues — which include impactors like social discord, the persistent pandemic and related fears of infection and discord on vaccines, and climate change — are dramatically weighing on people. So many changes to how we live and work have us discombobulated. While we have not yet seen dramatic drops in survey satisfaction scores for many of our clients and their relocating employees, there have certainly been increased escalations where mobile employees are quicker to the trigger than they have been in years prior. There is concern and a lot of effort being deployed to support mobile employees that are more often at their "wits' end" and grappling with the highest levels of normal, everyday stress along with the challenges of moving in a more challenging relocation ecosphere.

Are you seeing increased stress levels within your mobility program with your mobile employees? How is that playing out within the program? Is it having an effect on the members of your mobility team? How about on your selected mobility partners? We want to take a closer look at this and have created this Mobility Minute Survey:

"How is stress impacting Global Mobility programs?"

 Take a few minutes to share what you are experiencing and we will share back the results!

U.S. and Canadian workers, whose survey data are combined in Gallup’s research, ranked highest for daily stress levels of all groups surveyed. Some 57% of U.S. and Canadian workers reported feeling stress on a daily basis, up by eight percentage points from the year prior and compared with 43% of people who feel that way globally, according to Gallup’s 2021 report. This spike isn’t surprising to Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief workplace scientist, who tells CNBC Make It that rates of daily stress, worry, sadness and anger have been trending upward for American workers since 2009. Concerns over the virus, sickness, financial insecurity and racial trauma all contributed to added stress during the pandemic.


stress, global mobility, research, gallup, bamboohr, pandemic, employee experience, relocation journey, uncertainty, anxiety, relocation ecosphere, burnout, survey, meltdown