Relocation - Part I: Considering the Challenges
In a new series of blog posts we will look at the specific challenges associated with relocation and the main points to consider before you move. Each subsequent post will focus on a particular city (London, Paris, New Delhi, Bangalore and New York) and its peculiarities.
Relocating for work can be daunting, especially if you are moving to a city that you don’t know. So let’s take a look at the five main points that you will need to consider now you have made the decision to relocate.
You’ll need a place to live
If you are lucky enough to be in a position where your company is relocating you and providing a serviced apartment for the first few months in your new job then the stress of moving to a new city is considerably less. If not, it is worth considering investing in a serviced apartment in those first few months as this will alleviate the stress of finding a home immediately and will give you the breathing space to discover the city and make an informed decision on the area in which you want to live.
What about everyday logistics
The logistics of moving can be complicated. Consequently this is the most detailed point to consider and can be broken down into three main areas: communication, transportation and finances. Once these have been completed the rest should naturally fall into place. Communication; here again, living in a serviced apartment for the first few months will pay dividends as phone lines and broadband are usually part of the package. Transportation; consider whether or not you are going to need a car as most large cities have excellent transport systems. Make a point of picking up underground maps, bus timetables and information on local taxi companies and use these to get to know the layout of the city. Finances: a whole book in itself! However, for the purposes of this blog we will concentrate on the main points; banking and tax. However, we must stress that seeking professional assistance in this area is of paramount importance. If you are moving to a city in the same country you should be able to keep your existing bank account and you should not be unduly affected by any changes in your tax status. However, if you are moving to a different country then you will need to do some investigation into the banking institutions in that country and decide which one offers the type of account facilities you require. When taking up a new post anywhere around the world you will be liable to pay tax under that country’s laws, so it is worthwhile seeking professional assistance in this area to avoid any pitfalls that could be costly in the long term. Please remember financial issues can be complex, so you should always seek professional advice before you enter into any type of arrangement.
Establish your new social life
Don’t forget there is more to life than just work. In the first few months of living in a new city join your work colleagues after a day in the office to establish yourself and make new friends. Also, there is no better time to reconnect with friends on your social network (Facebook/LinkedIn) that you haven’t seen in years. Meeting up with them is another great way of getting to know the city you now find yourself in. In most major cities you will often find a vibrant ex-pat community; LinkedIn in a great source of information on making contact with ex-pat groups. You will find that ex-pats have a wealth of advice in all areas of settling into your new surroundings. All the cities we will be exploring in this series have a vibrant social scene and an enviable cultural landscape, so get out there and enjoy it.
Settling in the Family
Relocating is stressful enough when you are on your own but if you have a family to consider then the stakes just got that bit higher. If you are able to go ahead of your family this will give you the breathing space to identify possible schools for your children and potential companies to target for your partner’s career move. You will also be able to discover other things that will help settle your family, for example a gym, local playground, swimming pool, favourite take-away, restaurants, cinema, etc.
Let’s not forget your pets
If you have pets you are going to want to find an area with quiet roads and preferably with a park nearby to walk your dog or for your cat to roam around. Most serviced apartments don’t allow pets so if you are able to move before your pet(s) then this will, again, give you the breathing space to find the ideal location for you, your family and of course, your pets. Don’t forget, if you are moving to a new country, as well as a new city, you will need to take into account that country’s quarantine laws and factor in the costs, in both time and money, to your preparations.
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Relocating is a big step with several personal challenges associated with it and, as many companies have found to their cost, failing to get any one of the above factors right can lead to a relocation failing. As we have outlined above there are huge benefits to investing in a serviced apartment for those first few months in a new city, alleviating the stress of the whole experience and allowing you the freedom to get to know your new environment.
Watch this space for the next instalment - Relocation: London Calling!