The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager – from one drama to another

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager - from one drama to another What a week! I have to admit when we started 2020, I expected the year to include some randomness. It always does in Global Mobility and I’ve learned over the years to expect the unexpected. Never, did I think that the unexpected would be on this scale and affect every aspect of our lives both professionally and personally.

One hard aspect was the sudden change to working from home for the whole team. The change came at such speed it caught the business somewhat unawares and we grappled with data security issues and extra remote logins, all whilst trying to deal with assignee queries that came in thick and fast.

Increased Global Mobility Awareness

It appears my efforts to increase awareness of Global Mobility and what we do have got through to the business. However, it did mean we had queries that don’t normally fall into our role but apparently the employee or the business came to us as ‘we’re always good in a crisis’ or they had no idea who else to turn to within the business. This has required additional resourcefulness to find a solution or politely point them in the right direction to those in the business that could answer their question.

On the whole assignees have been really good. We’ve tried to get communication updates to them as frequently as possible and, realising the situation was unprecedented, they have reasonably requested help and support as needed.

Tricky situations

There have been a couple of situations that are pushing the GM team’s resilience and ingenuity levels to new heights. One assignee arrived in the UK just before lock down and, whilst he has moved into his new place, his air and sea shipment are at the port and are yet to be delivered. Two issues, a shortage of customs officers to clear the shipment and our relocation vendors are no longer sending crews out to deliver and unpack shipments. So currently the assignee and his family are sleeping on airbeds in their apartment whilst we scrabble to come up with alternatives.

Another assignee took the company’s flexible working policy and has stretched it a little too far by not returning to her home country but to her parent’s place in Singapore. She wants to ‘work from home’ there whilst on a tourist visa! So, until we can miraculously resolve this, we have told both her and the business she absolutely cannot work for the time being.

Family interruptions

Our team have had to quickly get used to virtual working and take the necessary precautions whilst on a Zoom call! Like ensuring when a member of the family, who does not have to get up so early for work, doesn’t inadvertently stroll through the back of the team meeting on zoom in their underpants!

During this madness I have tried to focus on the things I can control and make an effort to be grateful for the things we do have. This week, in particular, I have been truly grateful for two things. Firstly, the Global Mobility team who have once again dug deep and truly helped assignees with the issues they have faced and the plans they have needed to make. Some days I think they have felt like travel agents as they scrambled for the last flights to bring assignees and their family’s home. Secondly, I am hugely grateful for my network in the Global Mobility industry. I have reached out to countless contacts both in house an on the service provider side to bounce ideas, sound check solutions and just make sure I’m not losing the plot. It’s definitely a case of #strongertogether

From one drama to another

I do have to confess I have ensured I have the necessary quantity of G&T to get me through the next few weeks working from home and just to be sure I ordered an extra bottle online last week! Well it would be rude not to sit back and enjoy a nice cold G&T whilst taking a virtual trip to the National Theatre this evening!!

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