Expat professionals warned over poor work-life balances

Expat professionals warned over poor work-life balances

Expat professionals warned over poor work-life balances

Expats relocating overseas to take on a new job are often expected to adjust and perform well almost on arrival, but it’s not that straightforward.

In order to succeed as an expat professional, it’s essential to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance almost from square one. 21st century technology doesn’t help, as nowadays almost every employee is essentially on call 24/7. As a result, it’s easy for working expats to prioritise their business identities over their personal needs, with the imbalance affecting not just the workers themselves but also their families.

A poor work/life balance has been linked to stress-related conditions as well as increases in drinking, smoking and the onset of depression. Also, demanding work schedules are a risk to physical health, especially for new arrivals, with chronic fatigue, disturbed sleep and headaches often experienced. Examining what’s most important to you in your new life is the first step to adjusting your immediate work/life balance in order to avoid a failed assignment and the chaos it can cause.

For example, deciding on a distribution of work and leisure time which feels best for you, identifying what energises you and what makes you feel happy as well as being aware of what gives you the feeling you’ve been productive are all steps towards a positive work/life balance. Most of all, discovering and acting on your true values will ensure you’re on the right track.

Once you’ve sorted the above, you can begin to introduce important changes in your lifestyle. Making small changes which focus on your needs rather than your wants is the start, based on your evaluation of your present lifestyle. Spend more time on the positive and remember re-balancing your lifestyle takes time. Set realistic goals, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Learning to delegate or even to say ‘no’ is essential, even if it’s simply backing out of a dinner engagement because you’re in a heavy work period. Another essential is to separate your professional life from your personal time out by not taking work home, a tricky task in this digital age. Heading to the gym after work is one way, avoiding work-related conversations is another, and ensuring you and your loved ones have a relaxed evening together is the best way to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

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