International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey

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More than three-quarters of all respondents report supporting International Remote Working and/or Virtual Assignments.

The highly topical survey provides data from:

Overview of participation statistics from Mercer's 2021 International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey. It had 230 participant companies with an average of 54,677 full-time employees each. Thirteen industries were represented. More than 70% of participating individuals work a their company's global headquarters.

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More about the International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey

During the COVID-19 crisis, many employees were forced to work from home, and managing a remote workforce has become a priority for companies. The globally mobile workforce was also affected by this new development: many assignees were evacuated and became virtual expatriates forced to work from their home country or from a third country. The need to handle the pandemic constraints together with a growing trend of more flexibility in global mobility programs has prompted companies to review their policies around international remote working and set some new rules.

Mercer’s International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey explored topics such as:

  • How multinational companies are approaching virtual international assignments and international remote working?
  • To what extent do companies allow employees to work internationally remotely? 
  • Have multinationals been introducing virtual assignments as a new international assignment option?

Key report findings

  • According to the 2021 International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey findings, among those that indicate having IRW or VA in 2020–2021, more than 60% report that this resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Close to 20% of companies have already developed specific guidelines (12%) or an addendum to an existing policy (7%).
  • More than 60% of participating companies cite bringing jobs to people and expanding the talent pool as key actual or expected advantages of introducing virtual assignments or international remote working.
  • Four in ten ccompanies indicate that their remuneration approach for virtual assignees is identical to those for local employees in the same physical location.

Order the International Remote Working and Virtual Assignments Survey report

2021 Alternative International Assignments Survey Coming in early May, this survey will assess the latest trends in three assignment types: permanent moves/one-way transfers, short-term assignments, and commuter assignments.

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Flexibility in mobility policy As mobility managers grapple with increasingly international and mobile workforces and changing generational expectations, flexibility with mobility policy has become imperative. For organizations that seek to provide fair and consistent policies globally, there are new models that provide choice.

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