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10 Ways to Adjust in a New Multicultural Workplace


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This piece provides tips on how to make realistic relocation plans for changes that could come up in the course of your career

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10 Ways to Adjust in a New Multicultural Workplace

  1. 1. 10 Ways to Adjust in a New Multicultural Workplace Relocating abroad can be exciting especially if it’s what you’ve desired. Now you’ve received a letter from your local office nominating you to represent the company abroad. The role however requires a certain professional skill, exposure and a high level of competence. You seize the offer with both hands and sign off on the acknowledgment. Embedded in the whole sensation of the new experience, you begin to worry about your coping abilities in a new multicultural environment especially if it’s your first offshore assignment. Issues like where to stay, adjusting to new meals, temperature and time differences, your loved ones begin to becloud your excitement…Not to worry, these relocation tips can help you adjust properly into your new environment and perform optimally. 1. Do a Research on the New Environment: Research to get familiar with the socio- ethnic life style of the people you’ll be interacting with. Times have past where you get embarrassed by culture shock. Virtually everything you need to know is available on the internet. Google searching online can go a long way. Look out for behavioural pattern of the people and simple greeting pattern so you don t step on toes relating the wrong way. In Italy, you greet relatives and close friends with two kisses starting from the left, in France; you start from the right with three or four confirmed by Alessandro Fais in his blog. In Nigeria you greet by shaking hands in a formal setting…In an informal setting you prostrate for Yoruba gentlemen and kneel for women. Similar greeting pattern goes for the Igbo and Hausa tribe.
  2. 2. 2. Get a Travel Guide: Search for a travel guide and a map of the country, most travel guides have maps in them...You can get them at the consulates or tour guide office when you arrive the country but this is not advisable…Surf for these resources online. Look to get familiar with Land marks, get to know the name of prominent places. Start with airports most especially the one you’ll be arriving at. Get to know seaports if the country is surrounded by water, get to know available water channels – you mustn’t cram their names as some sea ports may be named in a local language you could find difficult to memorise. Look out for train stations and its connecting routes to cities and towns, this very important in order to avoid taking routes that are way off your travel path. Along the way you can pick up names of major cities, hubs and other notable destinations. 3. Get to know the Work Ethics of your New Office – Since you’ve been transferred from one geographical location to another. It’s expected that the code of conduct and other company policies would be similar. However, if it’s a new company, seek to establish relationships with a few staff ahead of time. Ask questions pertaining to working hours, staff etiquettes and job expectations. Be tactical to inquire about staff welfare and disciplinary procedures. This would prepare you ahead on what to expect so you don’t look like a novice hiding your tails between your legs in your new work space. 4. Verify Work Permits Status Ahead of time Before you Leave – Most countries are strict about their immigration control laws and ensure immigrants adhere strictly to guidelines concerning this. It advisable to sort this out with your local office before you travel. Some countries like the US insists you must apply for a special work permit or a “A right to work” permit for non-US nationals before you’re eligible for employment. Employers who violate these laws are usually sanctioned. Ensure this is clarified before you leave your country. 5. Sort out Accommodation Concerns: This depends on you…Your budget would determine where you’ll stay. If your company is responsible for your accommodation, there’s little to worry about. If you are to cater for your staying expenses, it’s advisable to get an agent on time to help you look out for an accommodation options with fair rates. During summer, rents are on a high side compared to spring and winter. Searching ahead of time in any season or city of your choice would help keep your budget tidy. 6. Contact your Agent to Confirm Arrangements: A follow up on your accommodation status and other settling plans would not be a bad idea, communicate frequently with your agent for updates or for changes where necessary. Factor in time zone differences to know when to put call through to your agent. Chatting apps like Whatsapp, Instagram and the likes have simplified the process at little or no cost. 7. Tighten Loose Ends: As your departure time approaches, reconfirm your flight date, time, departure terminal to avoid last minute mix-ups. You will have this information stated on your booking ticket. Check your luggage to ensure it meets up with the airline policy. Verify any other personal items you may wish to travel with to ensure it doesn’t violate air travel regulatory standards.
  3. 3. 8. Get your family Involved in the Planning Process: Family is an integral part of your life – include them in your plans and ask for their help and support in this relocation process. Share your excitement, concerns or fears with them. They’ll be glad to support you. 9. Settle Communication Arrangements with your Loved Ones: Make clear arrangement on how to communicate with your loved ones. In as much as you’re excited, they love you and would surely miss you especially when they know you’ll be away for a long time. It even becomes sad when your time zones don’t match. Be sure to plan on how to reach them periodically. 10. Get Yourself Checked Medically Before Leaving your Country: This is equally important as you may have some unknown micro-organisms resident in your blood stream. It’s important you’re checked to eliminate them before you travel. Include some antibiotics, antimalarial medications in your luggage in case your body reacts to changes in temperature or the environment. On arrival, be alert but calm; go through your check-out process. Surely your settling plans will fall into place. Take time to rest after you’ve arrived. Show up on time on your resumption date at work. By: Chinedu Ozulumba Author Name: Eddu Oz Blog: