42% of US companies allow employees to move but most don’t leave, survey finds

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – The pandemic has dramatically changed the future of workplaces across the country, particularly in California.

ABC7 News has partnered with Sequoia Consulting Group, a global consulting and services company, which surveyed 500 companies across the United States to assess what workplaces will look like this year.

RELATED: Survey Reveals What Californians Can Expect When Returning to Work

Of the 500 companies surveyed in this report, 70% are based in California, the majority of which allow employees to move permanently to any state. But we wanted to know if the mass exodus is as serious as we think?

“The percentages may surprise you,” said Kyle Holm, vice president of Total Rewards Advisory.

According to the survey, 42 percent of companies allow employees to move permanently to any state. But, the majority (59%) reported that only 1-10% of employees actually moved to another state or country.

“It’s not as many employees moving permanently as I would have thought,” said Holm.

The survey also found that 20 percent of companies relocating from the Bay Area will reduce or adjust salaries for employees moving to an area with lower cost of living. While 44 percent of the wages shown will remain the same.

WATCH: How will downtown San Francisco’s financial district bring employees back to work in high-rise offices?

“It felt like a pretty strong commitment from a lot of companies right off the bat knowing that they could have been in areas with a much lower cost of living,” said Holm.

Alternatively, only 27% of companies said they would raise wages for those who move to areas with higher cost of living, according to the study. 37% of companies said they would pay the same amount and not make an adjustment, raising questions about staff turnover.

“There is a question of whether the employees will look around,” Holm said. “The job market is strong and right now employees have enough choice … leverage they didn’t have before. “

Landon Hersch is the Director of Software Solutions for Sequoia Consulting Group. He says a majority of the companies polled indicated that this will be the norm of the future.

“Fewer and fewer companies are sticking to the five-day-a-week strategy for the foreseeable future and moving towards a hybrid mix once they fire their employees,” Hersch said.

RELATED: Frustrated Californians Move Out, Say Coronavirus Pandemic Was Last Drop

Less than five percent of companies surveyed make five days a week the norm to return to the office. The goal of the majority of companies is to allow more flexibility with regard to hours and places of work.

“Lots of flexibility,” said Tony Huie, CEO of tech startup Twingate. “Some people might want to wake up, take their kids to school and then figure out what their day is like from there… others might want to take a walk instead of a three hour commute.”

Huie’s business is completely isolated, which he says has helped attract quality candidates.

“We have been able to bring in teammates from all over the world,” he said. “Whereas if we were confined to one place, it would not be possible.”

But, other companies like healthcare startup GoodRX told ABC7 there is no substitute for in-person collaboration. Most of the employees in the company’s San Francisco office are expected to be back (part-time) by March.

WATCH: Hundreds of remote workers bite Tulsa’s offer to pay them $ 10,000 to relocate

“There’s a certain feeling of FOMO, (fear of missing out) where they want to be in person and want to be a part of it,” said Andrew Barrett Weiss, the company’s director of workplace experience.

Overall, 75% of companies, the majority of which are based in California, are considering a hybrid work model without an “immediate” plan to get all employees back to the office. Even if it means that some companies will always keep empty spaces.

“When do you think this office will be full of employees again?” Asked Stephanie Sierra of ABC7.

“I don’t know if we are doing this,” said Tori Runzel, personnel manager at Divvy Homes. “We have found that our employees like flexibility and only want to come once or twice a week.”

Runzel told ABC7 earlier in the pandemic that the company had already downsized to an office space three times the size because no one was entering.

“If everyone wanted to come back tomorrow, we would support this… and if they never wanted to come back to the office ever again, we would support this as well.”

The majority of companies have told Zoom that other similar video conferencing applications will be used for the foreseeable future – some are even starting to implement programs that will help employees prioritize and limit screen time to avoid ” Zoom fatigue “.

Here is a snapshot of the survey results: https://www.sequoia.com/abc7news

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