Research from Perkbox, the global benefits and rewards platform, has found that the UK is facing a workforce exodus, as almost two-thirds of UK workers (62%1) would consider moving abroad to work remotely.

What’s more, the survey of over 2,000 full-time workers found that a third of those who would consider moving abroad to work remotely (36%) are willing to leave their current job to achieve this. A number of factors are contributing to this desire, with the top three being: worries around the rising cost of living (21%), losing faith in the government and direction of the country (15%), and a desire to pursue a more nomadic lifestyle that blends work, travel and holiday (14%).

Whilst this sentiment simmers amongst the workforce, managers are increasingly beginning to see action being taken on it. Perkbox also surveyed over 500 business leaders across the UK, finding that over a quarter (28%) are already reporting an increase in requests for international working. Furthermore, this research showed that business leaders are supportive of the move, with three-quarters (75%2) trusting their people to work productively from anywhere.

However, as this trend develops, managers must be mindful of the potential friction and stresses growing within teams spread across multiple locations. The research highlighted early warning signs amongst the UK workforce when it comes to working with colleagues based in other countries:

  • Almost half (48%) will pay closer attention to fully remote colleagues, to check they’re remaining productive
  • 57% expect colleagues to work within the same hours they do, no matter the location
  • A third (34%) expect their employer to pay lower salaries to colleagues based in countries with lower costs of living
  • 50% will raise it with their management if colleagues based abroad are contributing less

With this in mind, it is now essential that HR and business leaders set expectations and create a consistent employee experience, no matter their location.

“A unifying culture across borders will help employees build stronger relationships with their teams and managers,” says Gautam Sahgal, CEO, Perkbox. “This type of model is only going to become more mainstream; so the challenge and opportunity for HR teams lies in creating an environment where everyone feels part of a shared purpose or goal, whilst still having their individual requirements acknowledged and catered to.”

Perkbox is urging employers to ensure equal access is available – regardless of location – to the same guidance, benefits and rewards. This will ensure employees feel equally informed, supported and appreciated wherever they are – creating confidence in the experience they can expect from employers in all circumstances.

Gautam continues: “It’s also crucial to empower managers to reward and recognise team members in any country, even if they’re the only team member based in a certain location, so that all can feel equally seen and connected to their organisation whilst enabling values to be upheld globally.  And employers shouldn’t forget the power of employees feeling seen and heard by fellow employees either. Enabling peer-to-peer recognition will help strengthen culture and mitigate tensions that may arise from remote working.

“In the context of the great resignation, this is now well beyond a nice-to-have. As competition for top talent continues to tighten, and geographical limitations keep diminishing, organisations with a harmonised culture across borders will be in a supremely advantageous position.”