Remote Learning May Transform the Relocation Industry
The concept of remote learning may be new to our K-12 educators and students, but is it really that revolutionary? Colleges and organizations have been offering online or self-paced courses and certification classes for decades. What about our homeschool communities? In 2019, it was estimated that 2.5 million students were being educated from home. While the need to abruptly initiate remote learning has shaken traditional education systems to their cores, will this become the norm in the future—or, at the very least, an option for students when traditional learning practices cannot be implemented? If so, how will the ability to teach children remotely change the relocation industry?
In the past, many employees would start a new assignment before their family joined them at a later date. However, experts agree that consistency and established routines are important for children, and separating a family during a work transition can dramatically affect the cadence of daily life for everyone involved. Conversely, disrupting the education process mid-year is also not ideal, which is why many employees elected to postpone moves until the school year concluded.
With advances in the online curriculum, we may see employees choosing to begin new assignments during the school year. The ability for children to connect with teachers and peers remotely will allow the family to move together and create consistency for education.
Another component to take into consideration is the fact that the peak moving season occurs at the time of year when many education facilities are no longer in session. With many schools closed for a portion of these months, it can make touring the facilities, interviewing teachers and principals, and experiencing the authentic culture of a school difficult.
If employees become more likely to accept positions at any given time during the calendar year, how will this affect the relocation industry? The potential implications are astounding.
In the United States, the peak real estate season typically runs from April through September. Contributing factors include more favorable weather, slower summer months for many industries, the higher number of employees taking vacations, and the fact that children are no longer in school. However, if children can consistently be taught remotely, at any time during the calendar year, will employees be more likely to accept a new position and relocate throughout the year? If so, will this create a more consistent flow of talent and consequently ease some of the burdens suppliers and employers experience when relocating a significant number of employees in a short period?
The demand for household goods shipments during the peak season is estimated to be as high as 80% of all moves throughout the year, with the majority occurring in three calendar months. The industry is already experiencing a shortage of drivers in the United States, and with increased demand during a short time, we see longer shipment windows and increased costs. High demand during this period can also lead to transportation companies hiring seasonal employees that may not have the training and skillset necessary to avoid costly mistakes. It is a classic example of supply and demand.
The same is true for temporary housing. Many traditional apartment communities have begun to limit the number of corporate apartments available in any given property. It is not merely a matter of setting up new apartments to keep up with the demand, but rather, if there is any inventory available to be used for corporate apartments. Intern programs utilize a large number of corporate apartments during the peak season.
If employees are moving throughout the year, more options will be available for intern programs, helping companies recruit future talent. The ability to move throughout the year will also provide employees with more options due to greater availability, especially if employees have families and require larger accommodations, which can be difficult to source during peak season. Pet-friendly options can be hot commodities during the peak season, too, which may require employees to leave family pets behind until permanent accommodations can be secured. All these issues may become moot points if the demand for highly sought-after options are dispersed throughout the year.
The Future of Remote Learning
The necessity of remote learning is already impacting millions of Americans, and the need to improve and develop new processes is something our educators are scrambling to accomplish in an effort to minimize the disruption to students. How successfully these programs are developed and implemented will drive the viability of future distance-learning opportunities. Failure is not an option when it pertains to educating our children, which leads me to believe that it is only a matter of time before our industry evolves in response to these changes.
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