Relocating overseas for work can present many challenges for expats, including getting used to their new surroundings and overcoming loneliness being away from their loved ones.
There are numerous ways you can support your expat employees in their roles, from implementing a buddy system, to promoting the support resources you have on offer.
Continue reading to see how you can safeguard the mental health of your expat workers.
Employee Assistance Programmes are a benefit companies frequently have in place, offering employees support and advice on issues that might be impacting their mental wellbeing. This could include a 24/7 helpline, face-to-face or virtual counselling sessions and confidential advice and support on personal matters.
Programmes like these show your workers that you care about their wellbeing, which is what many seek in a modern workplace. It could also benefit your business, as happy and healthy employees are more productive.
Expats can experience loneliness when they move abroad. Most likely, they are separated from family and friends by long distances, and will be trying to settle into their destination.
You could opt to employ a buddy system to support your new staff. This gives people someone to turn to for guidance, questions about the role, and other workplace queries.
IF you operate on a hybrid working model, it might be harder for expats to build real connections. However, activities like work events and team days can make people feel more comfortable at work, as they require everyone to be in the office.
If you’re considering sending workers on a secondment to another country, it is best to be diligent in the selection process so that both parties are happy with the decision.
It is important to involve your international office as well to see if the job transfer would be a good match. They can be invaluable in explaining what the culture in the country is and what is involved in the proposed role.
In the event that the worker is moving somewhere that speaks a different language, it is recommended that you enrol them in language classes to help them become familiar with the dialect. This can make them feel more confident in everyday conversations and in the new working environment.
It’s important to also place health at the forefront of the process, so that their wellbeing is protected when they move abroad. This could incorporate investing in expat health insurance to ensure the employee has their medical needs covered for overseas.
So that it doesn’t remain a taboo subject, it is a good idea to be open about mental health challenges in the workplace. It might be an opportunity for staff to share the struggles they have faced, making them feel listened to.
This can then help other people talk about their own experience and seek support if they need it. You could also ask your marketing team to communicate internally about assistance available in the workplace and how you are helping employees.
The most important thing here is consistency so that staff feel comfortable discussing the topic. Ensure you have regular conversations about the importance of protecting your mental health as well, as this can help to reduce stigma around the subject.
Opening up about mental health means that attitudes towards it can be different in the workplace.
Changes to mental health dialogues start internally, which is why it is essential to invest in management training. Knowing how to deal with issues specifically related to this means employees can be offered the best support.
Bosses will then have a deeper understanding of the complexities of mental health conditions, including what individual assistance their workers require, and what adjustments might need to be made for them at work.
Other measures that could be taken include organising a company-wide mental health day or having regular check-ins with your workers.
Many companies have support available for employees, but they don’t always talk about what’s on offer. Your workers may, therefore, not know about the support that exists and be unable to utilise it.
Promoting these services to your staff will allow more people to access and benefit from them. Early access to support may also act as a preventative measure before mental health worsens.
Expanding abroad provides many opportunities for you as a business owner, giving you a chance to diversify your assets, attract international talent, and build a presence in a new market.
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