At the beginning of 2020, I surveyed Fort McMurray, an oil town in northeast Alberta, Canada. In January, there are limited outdoor activities in Alberta, so on a Sunday, it was recommended I go to a “park” walkable from the hotel.
While South American countries have a wet season, the duration and severity vary. Knowing this and having traveled extensively throughout the continent, my February survey delivered some unique experiences. I encountered urban flooding in both Brazil and Paraguay and in both instances the flooding occurred subsequent to a relatively short period of rainfall. Both times also seemed to be a failure of infrastructure more than anything else.
This February I surveyed Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa. After 30+ travel hours from Boston, I arrived in Cape Town eager to decompress in my hotel room. Once there, front desk staff informed me that I could not check in yet because the power was down. They explained that the typical length of a blackout is two hours and this one had started about a minute after my arrival.
During my Abidjan survey this past February, I found Ivorians to be friendly, often greeting me with “Bonjour Monsieur!” Shopping malls are expanding as new brands arrive in the Ivory Coast market, and good security provides safe areas for expatriate shopping.
I relocated to San Francisco in 2013. As someone who lives here and works in the cost-of-living industry, I can confirm that SF is one of the most costly places in the world. But, I'm also here to tell you that living here is worth the cost. The Bay Area is a truly wonderful place to live. But organizations often have a hard time relocating talent here due to the cost. But even when we do convince people to move, relocations often fail because organizations don't help relocating employees understand the nuances of the Bay Area and find the right housing fit for them.
During my Switzerland survey, I found that many people choose to live in Zug for its lower cost of living and lower tax costs compared to neighboring cities Lucerne and Zurich. Zug is just about thirty minutes by train, which makes it a practical choice.
What is the best solution for your company: full-service relocation, lump sum amount, or a hybrid approach? It’s a hotly debated topic within corporate relocation programs and is discussed at almost every industry event. Companies must weigh their budget against the level of support they are willing to provide transferees. There’s no easy answer, no one-size-fits-all.
Relocating is already a challenge, but relocating during a pandemic adds a new level of difficulty. After years of surveying based in AIRINC’s Cambridge office, I was honored to accept a position at our Hong Kong branch late last year. From the beginning, I was excited to move to a vibrant global city, but the logistics proved more challenging than expected as a novel coronavirus (at the time still unnamed) spread in January. Even before being declared a pandemic, COVID-19 was having a broad and unpredictable impact across the globe.
On my recent survey, I visited Botswana. The capital, Gaborone, has roughly three hundred thousand residents and the availability of goods and services is moderate, largely due to the city’s location right on the border with South Africa.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has upended our daily lives. Besides the primary fear of an uncertain disease that has infected millions and killed tens of thousands, there are also the secondary impacts resulting in overrun healthcare systems, shelter in place orders, and inconsistent availability of food and other essentials.