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March 1, 2023

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employee support

Warnings issued for relocating staff abroad as global mobility increases

Making sure the correct support is in place for relocating employees abroad to work is one of the most important factors, experts have said.

The support for both health and wellbeing as well as families should be top of the agenda, according to Towergate Health & Protection.

Credit: Alamy Stock

As international relocation and global mobility are back on the business agenda post COVID, the Southampton based business is warning employers to think carefully and carry out due diligence before deciding to send an employee abroad.

Sarah Dennis, Head of International at Towergate Health & Protection, said: “The health and wellbeing of the employee and their family should be a key concern when deciding to send an employee on an international assignment.

“Not providing sufficient support could prove a costly mistake.

“Working overseas can be hugely fulfilling and fruitful for both the employee and the company.
“However, it is important to give it full consideration and get support in place before any move.
“Taking expert and experienced advice from local to international level is essential to the success of assignments overseas.”

She said a support system should be put in place for all four pillars of health and wellbeing: mental, physical, social, and financial.

Other key considerations should be the cost, local options, medical status, employee adaptability and their family – Sarah stressed the considerations must go beyond the business opportunity.

She said employers must make sure they have taken cultural differences into consideration and prepared the employee for the challenges they may face.

“Providing mental and social health support abroad is vital as other cultures may not have the same attitudes to mental health and employees may feel isolated,” she said.

“The personality of the individual employee must be considered. Would they be happier to settle in another country and adapt or to make regular trips?”
Sarah suggested access to support such as online counselling can help staff who need coping strategies.

In addition, an important factor is family. Sarah added that many overseas assignments fail not because of the employee but because of issues with their family. It is important to consider any dependants and to ensure that they are able to adapt to any move, or their partner being away, too.

The total cost of relocating an employee internationally can be £80,000 or more – once packing, moving, storage, transportation, childcare assistance and other expenditures are calculated.

Towergate Health & Protection is urging businesses to really consider if relocation is the best option for the business and perhaps consider making employees globally mobile as a better alternative to relocation.

A final option is considering whether the best option is to send a UK employee abroad at all, or to find someone local to carry out the role.

And if they do recruit locally, they’ll need to consider how they offer support, for instance for their health and wellbeing.

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