3 Ways to De-Stress International Relocations

Employees are likely to be excited about their imminent global assignments and a little anxious too. So what can HR managers do to minimise the stress involved?


Here are three top tips:

1. Provide Information 

Providing individuals with details of their new assignment and location will help them to make informed decisions about if, when and how they relocate.

In particular, ensure that people are aware of relocation support that they are entitled too. This should go beyond the financial details. Understanding that they are able to receive cross-cultural training, language lessons and support for partners and families – if they are moving too – can be extremely reassuring. As well as easing stress levels, this also helps employers and assignees to set realistic goals for their new role – both professionally and personally.

2. Remove Uncertainty 

Housing, schools and transport are key aspects to everyday life. Uncertainty within these areas creates stress. Get these things right and people settle into their new homes and roles more quickly, which is the common goal for everyone involved with the relocation.

If possible, assignees should visit their new location before moving. Temporary accommodation gives people a chance to get to know their new area before choosing their long-term home.

Support with settling in includes services such as arranging for utilities, bank accounts and healthcare to be in place. This eases the transition into day-to-day life in a new country.

3. Communicate

There is often a flurry of communication between employers and assignees prior to relocations. This needs to continue once people arrive in their new country and start their new roles.

Loneliness is often the biggest worry for international assignees. Putting people in touch with future colleagues or other employees already working in the new location offers ‘front line’ information and the chance to ask questions. There will usually be an expat community that people can connect with – however combining this with learning the language and mixing with locals helps assignees to feel ‘at home’ more quickly.

Plus – treat repatriation at the end of an assignment just as carefully as the initial relocation. Although there are less unknown elements involved, slotting back into ‘home’ life needs planning and support too.

“These three tips seem simple enough,” says Louise Chilcott, Global Move and Relocation Specialist at BTR International. “However not applying enough time to them is how many international relocations become more stressful than necessary.

“We’ve helped assignees and their families move and settle abroad for over 25 years. Our goal is to make corporate relocations as stress-free as possible. That’s something that our clients and assignees value too.”

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