We have yet to relocate an employee who is excited about moving into temporary housing. Let’s face it, they want to be in their own homes, in their own beds, surrounded by their own belongings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Things come up throughout the relocation – closings get delayed or employees can’t find new homes in the allotted timeframes. And in many cases, you need your employee to start in the new location as soon as possible.

Either way, temporary, or short-term housing is often necessary for relocating employees. Moving into corporate housing is not an ideal situation; however, this benefit can greatly affect the overall satisfaction and happiness of your relocating employees. Just knowing the benefit is available should something happen significantly reduces employee stress levels.

Ideally, we’d be able to time the relocation perfectly without the need to use temporary housing. And even though this doesn’t happen every time, it’s important to have a plan in place so we can make your employees’ relocations as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Step 1: Make temporary housing part of your relocation policy

Temporary housing comprised of 67% of all exceptions reported in our 2018 Mobility + Culture Benchmark Report. That’s a lot of employees requiring temporary lodging or extending stays due to unforeseen circumstances. This tells us that it’s a benefit not to be excluded lightly, especially if employee satisfaction is one of your top priorities.

Adding this benefit to your relocation policy offers you and the employee a multitude of benefits. The employee can use their time in temporary housing to become acquainted with their new location and avoid the pitfalls of moving into an area they don’t like. Your employee also benefits from not having to worry about any home selling or purchasing delays, as they will have somewhere to go if something should temporarily fall through.

Your company will also reap the rewards of including temporary housing in your policies. Exception reviews and management takes a lot of time – time that you could spend doing more important things. Additionally, you’ll be able to control cost by capping the temporary housing benefit and/or limiting timeframes based on your relocating employee’s needs.

Step 2: Learn about your employee’s needs

Speaking of employee needs, it’s important to remember that every relocation is different. Employees may have families, pets, disabilities, and/or lifestyles that require the use of specific corporate housing units. Before choosing a unit on your employee’s behalf, it’s imperative that their needs are learned. This process should be managed by your Relocation Management Company (RMC) through the employees’ dedicated Relocation Counselor. Part of the Counselors’ job is to learn what the relocating employee will need out of their corporate housing.

Do they have children?

Does the employee need to live within a certain school district for their children?

How many bedrooms are required for the family?

Do they have pets? If so, how many?

How many cars will need parking permits?

Does the unit need to be handicap accessible?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when drilling down into what your employees need. At a bare minimum, the needs assessments ought to include considerations for reliable transportation, differences in family dynamics (for example, a two-child household versus a five-child household) and distance from the office. Accounting for these three basic needs goes a long way to ensure that employees are happier and more successful in their new roles.

Step 3: Location, location, location

Location is another huge consideration when selecting temporary housing options for your employees. No one wants to commute an hour and a half to work every day. Most employees like to live as close to their new office location as possible; however, the reality is, there are plenty of situations when it’s too expensive or just doesn’t align with your employee’s lifestyle.

The cost of housing is most problematic when deciding which location works best. It is best practice to cap temporary housing benefits, so a prime housing location close to the office may not suffice. It’s important to make sure your employees understand how close their temporary home will be to the office. If being closer to the office is important to them, explain that they may have to forgo included amenities.

Step 4: Don’t forget the amenities!

You want your employees to feel as much at home as possible while in temporary housing. After all, the less stress they experience at home, the less stress they’ll carry with them to work.

While learning about your employee’s needs, your RMC should also learn about what your employee’s want. What will make them feel most at home?

Do they want an on-site gym?

How about a dog park within walking distance?

Should the unit be close to available public transportation?

Learning just a few of the little details about the relocating employee will greatly impact their satisfaction with their corporate housing.

And it’s not just amenities for the actual relocating employee that we discuss. The needs and desires of their family must be considered as well.

Do they need to be close to a daycare center?

Would they like to live close to a public park?

What are the area schools like?

Step 5: Make use of your RMC’s network

After learning the full picture of your employee’s needs and wants, it’s time to select a temporary housing provider. If your RMC doesn’t offer a vast network of suppliers, they probably won’t be able to meet all of your employee’s desires when it comes to temporary housing.

An RMC should fully vet and offer multiple choices for your relocating employees. That’s why we focus heavily on vetting local corporate housing options. We want to help your employees and their families feel at home in their new location. By offering more options we are also able to provide more cost-effective solutions. At the end of the day, your employees should be able to choose the temporary housing unit that best matches their budget with their needs and desires.

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