Use these tips when adjusting to a new destination for work
Moving to a new city or a country, no matter the reason for your move, is never without a challenge. However, one of the toughest challenges to adjust to is the “culture shock” that comes with moving from one cultural environment to another. In a business environment, culture shock after relocation can negatively impact employee motivation. Due to stress, people who experience culture shock may leave their current roles or withdraw from their coworkers. That’s why we’re listing some of our top coping tips and some of the best methods of preventing culture shock.
Defining The "Culture Shock"
Before we get started on methods for dealing with culture shock after employee relocation, we first have to cover the basics. “Culture shock” is a feeling of anxiousness and alienation when a person is exposed to a foreign environment and culture. It’s one of the most significant relocation challenges people face when moving to a new country. While there are definite signs and stages of culture shock, people often experience it differently.
The most common stages of culture shock are the following:
- The Honeymoon Period – This stage usually lasts for a few weeks or months after a move. It’s when a person finds the new environment interesting and exciting.
- The Frustration Stage – The difficulties of the new environment start to become apparent at this point, and their effects can be felt. The most common symptom is a decline in confidence one feels in themselves.
- The Adjustment Stage – The person slowly grows to adapt to their new surroundings.
- The Acceptance Stage – Finally, the person can enjoy their new life in the new country.
Different people will go through these many stages in their way, or they can get trapped in one stage forever. Culture shock becomes a severe issue when a person is trapped in the frustration phase.
How To Prevent and Cope With the Culture Shock?
Although you can’t completely prevent culture shock after employee relocation, many believe you can cope with it and minimize it by doing some of the following things:
Research and Prepare
Researching thoroughly before entering a new culture might ease the transition process for your employees. To minimize culture shock, a person moving to a new culture should read up on the customs as much as possible. This is important because some cultures have different rules and a sense of humor. Additionally, you or your employee should try to learn a few simple phrases in the country’s official language – nothing too flashy, just a simple greeting and a few most common phrases. The company sometimes includes language learning and culture seminars in its relocation package.
Finally, before moving, your employee should read about the city they’ll be moving to and try to memorize their commute, for example.
Organize a Visit
Another thing that can help minimize culture shock after employee relocation is organizing a visit to the destination country ahead of the actual move. If you or your employee are moving overseas for a new job, you shouldn’t just leap into it. The best way is to take it slow so you can know what to expect after you move. It would be best if you used an opportunity to experience the new surroundings and the culture first-hand. This first visit could be anywhere between three days and a month long. If your employee starts showing frustration and culture shock symptoms after a short time, they might not be the right fit.
Have a Support System
One of the best ways of coping with culture shock is to have a support system in place to help with your feelings of isolation and frustration. Similarly, you can help your employees by creating an environment that welcomes and accepts newcomers and creates a community for them. Moreover, you can help them stay in touch or even bring their family members to a new country. In some cases, even moving their pet with them is a great help when dealing with culture shock.
Find a Healthy Outlet
Every person should have a way of dealing with destructive emotions. However, not all those healthy outlets are available all the time. For example, a person who enjoys running as a way to deal with stress can’t do that in the freezing weather in their new country. Or, a person who enjoys long walks might not like it when it’s 100 degrees outside. If you’re moving to a new country, you should find a way to deal with your emotions healthily. Journaling is always a good example. It’s excellent for relieving stress and coping with feelings that may come from culture shock.
Meet New People
Whether it’s meeting and hanging out with coworkers or other local people, forming new connections is an excellent way of coping with the culture shock after employee relocation. At first, it could seem pretty scary, but if you get right in, you’ll meet various people who can help you adjust to the cultural differences. Maybe you’ll even make a friend or partner for life.
If you’re too scared to go out alone, that’s understandable. But know that you must make the first move and leave your apartment to get to know anyone. If you’re unsure about approaching people at a bar or restaurant, you can always join a social club or a sports team as a way to meet people.
Help Cut Down on Stress by Working with the Best
The relocation process can be a trying time for employees and their families. But one of the best ways to fight culture shock is to work with a reliable international relocation management company (RMC) that will assist you every step.
Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) takes pride in helping employees move. Our award-winning customer service team is happy to coach employees every step of the way as they relocate to their new destinations. Since 1987, our relocation coaches have led the industry in the service provided and technology created, with one goal in mind. That goal is to provide employees with the best relocation experience possible.
Our experts not only help with moves but can help create relocation packages that suit both your company and employees alike. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how GMS can assist with relocation services.
We're Here to Help! Request a Courtesy Consultation
Are you ready to talk to a Mobility Pro? Learn how GMS can optimize your mobility program, enhance your policies to meet today’s unique challenges, receive an in-depth industry benchmark, or simply ask us a question. Your Mobility Pro will be in touch within 1 business day for a no-pressure, courtesy consultation.