**Topics you may want to cover: - What family problems do expatriates face? How do they influence the willingness and quality for them to work? - What policies the companies have to tackle these problems? How successful are these solutions? How often they were used?
Dual-career couple: the expat’s spouse has to leave a good job in the home country
additional leave for the expat assignee The burden of the move in and settling in tasks tends to fall to the accompanying partner as the assignee is typically “in at the deep-end” with the assignment. A few additional days leave that can be taken to assist with some of the key move in tasks can be invaluable to the family, particularly when younger children are around. Directing legions of movers to get things in the right place while simultaneously ensuring that your children out of harms way is much easier if there are two of you. If additional leave is not an option, at least try to ensure that the assignee has a “honeymoon period” with little or no travel expected.
Access to a discrete individual who can help with local language In the early days of the assignment, the family will have to deal with communications in the local language and in many cases their language skills will be inadequate to deal with them. Assignees often ask their assistants to help them but this is not always possible nor is it always appropriate.
Organise a “mentor”, preferably another expat, who can show the family (in particular the accompanying partner) how to navigate the day-to-day challenges of life in a new country. We’re not talking about a destination services provider showing the accompanying partner around for a day, we’re talking about someone whom the family can call and ask questions (“where is the nearest hospital?” in the inevitable moment where a child needs stitches or someone contracts food poisoning), someone who can also do some handholding around everyday tasks when needed. It helps if the mentor is in a similar family situation as they will be able to provide more and relevant information. Finally, in the absence of a local mentor, a current and comprehensive list of local services can go a long way towards helping. You can download a starter list to be populated with local information here
Provide a list of reliable babysitters and babysitting services to families with young children. This may not help immediately as children may not be comfortable being left with a new babysitter or in an unfamiliar environment, but getting started quickly with a reliable babysitter allows the adults to get things done without the additional stress of having children around or worrying about the quality of care they are receiving.
A temporary local SIM card for the accompanying partner In many countries, the accompanying partner can’t sign up for a local phone contract until all immigration formalities are complete. While the assignee is typically given access to mobile communications immediately as a work tool, the accompanying partner may be left without or relying on expensive roaming on their home contract. Since a landline may not be connected either, restricted…