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The Rise of Virtual Mobility and How It Impacts Teams

The pandemic has reshaped our views of work in one way or another. One of the interesting new trends on the rise is virtual mobility or remote international work.


Since last year, companies have announced more flexible policies that let employees work from more locations — including cities without offices. Spotify went so far as to encourage workers to choose not only their work location (home or office) but also their country.


Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted a study of 209,000 people in 190 countries and uncovered big shifts in the map of global mobility: 


(1) Willingness to move abroad has declined by 13 percentage points since 2014.

The travel restrictions during the pandemic have accelerated this decline. Relocation willingness has also been affected by the trend toward remote work.

The rise of virtual mobility and how it impacts teams


(2) The order on the list of the top-ten work destinations has changed.

The changes largely reflect different countries’ success in managing the pandemic. Many European countries have disappeared from the list. There has been a popularity boost for Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand. The US lost the top spot for the first time.

The rise of virtual mobility and how it impacts teams


(3) Appeal of virtual mobility has significantly increased.

57% of respondents are willing to work remotely for an employer that doesn’t have a physical presence in their home country. This level is well above the proportion who are open to physical relocation.

The US returns to the top position when the question is about virtual work.

The rise of virtual mobility and how it impacts teams


These shifts create new opportunities and challenges for companies. Teams will likely become more geographically dispersed and global. Leaders need to get ready. 


According to Dr. Tsedal Neeley, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, the main difference between global teams that work and those that don’t lies in the level of social distance—the degree of emotional connection among team members. 


Mitigating social distance is the primary management challenge for a global leader. 

  • In this HBR article Dr. Tsedal Neeley offers a framework for managing social distance.


Teamraderie virtual experiences are designed to cultivate emotional connection and trust in teams. You can reach out to us at [email protected] or visit our experience finder if you would like to learn more.