Today’s business sector works at a global level, where events on one side of the world influence the economy and social stability on the other side. So, it’s not uncommon to see companies change their location in search of a friendlier environment (both financially and from a perspective of talent).
Plus, due to recent technological advancements, most companies can change their headquarters, open new branches, and expand in foreign markets without having to move the entire team around the world. As remote work becomes easier to integrate with in-office work, companies have access to a global pool of talent and employees enjoy the benefit of living wherever they want.
Still, this is not always possible as there are positions that require in-person presence and on-site supervision. If your position is of this nature, at some point in your professional life, you may receive an offer to relocate to a new state, country, or even continent.
Assuming you like the offer, including the benefits, at the new location, you will have to decide if relocating is the right step in your life at that moment. If this is the case, here are a few things to consider before accepting such an offer:
1. The Relocation Package
Any company that is serious about relocating employees or bringing people from overseas to its headquarters will offer some sort of relocation package. Some will offer to cover the costs of relocation (fully or partially) and help with the moving process.
Others will simply give you a check and you have to take care of everything. And lastly, there are companies that provide both.
Now, you have to analyze the situation and decide if the package they are offering covers your expenses, stress, and effort. For instance, if the company works with a global relocation service that takes care of packing and moving your things, transportation, unpacking to the new location, and more this saves you a lot of stress.
Also, check if the company gets involved in helping you find a new place, get rid of the old one, and accommodate into the new location. This may imply a few visits even before you decide to accept the relocation offer.
Overall, it’s important to negotiate the best possible relocation package since the process is stressful and disrupts your life.
2. Lifestyle Changes
From adjusting to different weather to learning a new language and making new friends and colleagues, relocation is all about change. And it won’t be gradual – your world will literally change the moment you accept the offer. So make sure you’ll go through this hectic process to improve your life!
If you’re moving to a completely new location, make sure to visit first and see if you like the area. If it’s a new country and language, pay attention to your surroundings, check out the nightlife, have a look at the education system, and try to get a sense of how the locals think. If their lifestyle is too different, you may have a tough time adjusting.
If you are truly interested in making the move, check with the employer and see if there’s a chance for language lessons, additional training with the locals, and other forms of support, including financial. Also, try to check for local expat communities from your country and get in touch with them to get a better understanding of the integration process.
Relocating for a job is stressful enough when you only have to worry about yourself, but if there’s family involved, things get infinitely more complex.
Still, if your employer is convinced you are the right person for the job, they will support your efforts and make every concession possible to help with the moving and re-integration process.
Here are a few things to bring into discussion during negotiations:
A partner’s interests – if your partner agrees to relocate, they will have to look for a new job (unless they can work remotely). In this case, the company should provide some help by using their connections to create opportunities at the new location.
Children’s education and well-being – the company should provide support in finding an appropriate kindergarten or school at the new location. Also, you shouldn’t move the family until you find a suitable place to live. Look for neighborhoods that somehow resemble the old environment to make the transition a bit easier.
Your employer should provide as much help as possible for both your move and the one of your family. So before you think about accepting an offer, think of what would benefit the people you want around.
Also, discuss the option of moving with your partner and the children (adjusted to their level of understanding).
If you’re just moving states, you may not have to do a lot of paperwork, except to let the official authorities know about your move. However, the situation changes when it’s a different country or continent.
You may have to apply for a visa (for yourself and your family) and work permit. Usually, the employer should cover this aspect or hire a specialized company to deal with the papers and smooth out the process. Otherwise, if you have to take care of everything, it may turn an already stressful situation into a bit of a mess.
5. Understand the Need for Relocation
If you consider relocating to a new job at a different company, try to understand why they couldn’t find anyone locally. Is it due to your rare qualification and level of experience or is there something else going on?
For instance, some businesses are happy to offer a relocation package if they can convince you to come in on a lower salary (that would make sense in your area but may be too small for the new location). On the other hand, it may also be related to the company’s reputation at a local level.
Overall, try to find out if your relocation is in the spirit of building the right team or if there are other (nefarious) reasons behind it.
6. Social Network (yours and your family’s)
When you change locations, you also change your social circle. The same happens to your children and partner if they come along. Now, depending on social skills, there are people who find it easier to forge new connections and find new buddies even as adults, but it’s not as easy as it used to be in high school or college.
Plus, not everyone is eager to renew their social circle in their 30s or 40s. True, you can still keep in touch with old friends due to online communication methods, but it gets difficult when you want to go for an evening out without your partner.
Also, if you move with the entire family, you have to consider the kid’s social circle. While it’s true they have a lot more chances to adapt and make new friends, it’s not going to be easy.
Still, there are things you can do before the move and you should ask your employer’s help in this aspect.
Here are a few ways you can be proactive about this:
Check with your employer about organizing networking opportunities for relocated employees. This will make it easier to integrate with the new colleagues and work environment.
Participate in events where you can meet peers in the same industry but from different companies.
Look for networking opportunities within your neighborhood or find expats that are willing to share their experience and help newcomers out.
Encourage your partner to attend business conferences that fit their interest
Enroll the kids in extracurricular activities that get them in touch with the locals.
Overall, it’s important to be proactive about renewing your social circle at the new location. You can’t just move and hope for the best (you are not in college anymore).
7. Consider What You’ll Be Giving Up
Besides the hassle of moving everything to a new state/country, you also need to consider what it means to leave your current location.
Will you have to give early notice to your landlord? What does that mean from a financial standpoint? Does your current contract allow it?
Will you have to sell your house or apartment? Can you turn your current home into a rental and keep the ownership? What type of extra effort does this entail?
Of course, you may also have elderly parents or siblings that will be left behind. Can they manage without you being nearby? Does your relocation affect their emotional well-being?
Each person’s situation is different, so make sure to discuss everything with your employer. Also, make sure they are transparent with their conditions and support, to avoid any unwanted complications down the road.
Relocating for a new job and a new beginning may sound great on paper, but it’s always easier when you don’t have responsibilities and strong roots in your current location.
Still, if the opportunity is worth the effort and the expenses, and if your employer provides the right level of support, it can be done. Just don’t expect it to be a walk in the park – it takes time, money, and a lot of determination to undergo such a project!