Navigating Employee Relocation: Essential Considerations for Employers

Employee Relocation

Company growth is something to celebrate. After all, this is a testament to your success and offers great opportunities to all stakeholders. That said, in some instances, you may find this requires some employees to relocate.

This may be to join a new team at a branch in another city or even work from home in a territory where they have better access to clients.

This can present some significant challenges for employees and the business itself. Some of these difficulties will be practical in nature, while others revolve around the employees’ feelings about the shift.

As an employer, the best way to ensure positive outcomes for everyone involved is to carefully consider what the potential issues are and how to address them.

What Resources Can Be Helpful During the Transition

Many companies recognize that relocating can be challenging for their employees. The most common way to attempt to address this is by offering a relocation package.

This might include a stipend to minimize the costs of moving or arranging temporary housing.

While this can be useful, it’s worth thinking a little deeper into what resources you might be able to offer that relieve the logistical burden of relocating.

This demonstrates to employees that you genuinely care about their experience, which can encourage them to have a more positive attitude toward the move and your business.

Location visits

The first step can be to arrange for a visit to the new location a couple of months before they move. This helps them to become a little more familiar with the area where they’ll be living, rather than feeling unceremoniously dumped into a new space.

Perhaps help them to arrange trips to local schools if they have children or even check out potential neighborhoods to live in.

If possible, connect them with employees already living in the area to provide them with advice and reassurance. If you can get them not just ready but also excited for the move, they may have a better experience.

Planning assistance

Relocation requires significant planning in a variety of areas. Some employees may find this overwhelming and they might overlook aspects that could affect both their experience and their productivity.

One resource you can provide is planning assistance either from a member of human resources (HR) or a dedicated relocation coach. 

This should involve taking them through cross-country relocation checklists that help them overcome the logistical challenges they’ll face.

The pre-move checklist will guide them through researching moving companies alongside decluttering their belongings to reduce unnecessary baggage. 

There should also be checklists for the moving day that ensure their comfort and safety, such as preparing snacks and keeping connected to friends and family throughout the journey.

The better grasp they have of these checklists, the more in control and confident they may feel during the transition.

How It Might Impact Employee Well-Being

Employee wellness is both an ethical duty and a practical imperative for all businesses. Absenteeism and stress can affect productivity.

One Gallup study found that, on average, costs related to voluntary turnover due to burnout comprise 15-20% of total payroll budgets.

Therefore, one of the key considerations when arranging relocations is how the process might negatively affect employee wellness and how to address these.

Some of the potential areas that influence wellness include:


When employees relocate, they may be moving to a place where they have no roots or contacts. This can be an issue particularly if they’re relocating alone.

If employees experience social isolation and loneliness, there can be significant physical and mental health outcomes.

They may be more vulnerable to stress-related heart disease, depression, anxiety, and even addictive behavior. 

Part of the relocation process should include steps for mitigating loneliness. This might include welcome meetings with colleagues at their new location. Even providing tickets to local events can encourage greater socialization.

Stress of moving 

Moving home is considered one of the most stressful life experiences, above even divorce and having kids. This on top of the stress of transitioning to a new workplace can contribute to depression, sleep disruption, and possibly burnout.

The aforementioned relocation assistance can certainly relieve some of the stress of the move. 

It’s also good to provide stress-busting resources. These might include access to mindfulness and meditation apps or even telehealth therapy so they can express their feelings wherever they are.

Even just giving them a few paid days off between arriving and starting work can ease the strain. 

Remember that individual employees will have specific wellness needs and challenges related to relocating. This may be related to mobility difficulties or anxiety surrounding certain aspects of traveling.

Be sure to check in with employees to discuss what their needs are before the move. This enables you to collaborate on finding solutions.

How It Affects Team Structure

When you start to relocate staff members, this naturally disrupts the team structure. After all, you’re taking one or more employees who may have been a constant physical presence in a team and putting them somewhere else.

It’s important to gain a good understanding of what the potential problem points of this can be so you adjust and support the team structure accordingly.

Your teams are likely to be the best sources of information here. Have discussions about how the relocating employee fits into the workflow.

If the employee is moving to a different position, it may simply be a case of starting recruitment processes early enough to ensure there aren’t gaps. 

However, if they’re playing the same role and just working from a different location, you’ll need to redistribute tasks among the team while the employee is traveling and transitioning.

There may also be a need for the team to collaborate on redesigning the working practices, such as adopting remote ideation and brainstorming platforms.

If the relocation means you’ll be restructuring your team, an organizational chart can be a helpful tool. Org charts are simple visual documents that let stakeholders see where everyone fits into the team.

When members are relocating but still a part of the same teams, location-based org charts help to provide clarity on who employees in each territory report to and what time zones they’re in. 

This can be particularly useful for knowing who employees can raise issues with and even scheduling virtual meetings for times that everyone can attend.


Successfully navigating employee relocation requires attention in a range of areas. You’ll need to provide practical resources and establish protocols for prioritizing your employees’ wellbeing, among other elements. 

In addition, it’s worth considering that remote operations are becoming more practical. In some instances, it may be better for employees to perform their tasks wherever they are, rather than having to relocate to another office.

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Article Author Details

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer living in the pacific northwest who has a variety of interests including sociology, politics, business, education, health, and more.