September 21st is World Cleanup Day

September 21st is World Cleanup Day, and we encourage everyone to get involved however they can.

World Cleanup Day is an international effort to band together and clean up our earth, to do our part in preventing the growing climate crisis we find ourselves in.

World Cleanup Day on 15 September 2018 united 18 million people across 157 countries and territories, for the biggest waste collection day in human history.

This year, it aligns with the UN-sanctioned International Day of Peace, as well as falls around the time of two school strikes for climate. One is the September 20 Climate Strike, three days before a UN emergency climate summit being held in New York,and the other is with 350.org and Earth Strike next week, on the 27th.

To find out more about World Cleanup Day, click here, and to find out how to get involved, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint While Traveling

According to the University of Innsbruck, a recent study shows that we are helping to melt nearly 6 400 kilograms of glacier ice when travelling by plane. We need to pay more attention to our carbon footprint.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really much we can do about it this point, other than staying at home and never setting foot out of our front door ever again. The same study explained:

“The further melting of glaciers cannot be prevented in the current century – even if all emissions were stopped now. However, due to the slow reaction of glaciers to climate change, our behaviour has a massive impact beyond the 21st century.”

That said, there are ways we can reduce our carbon footprint while travelling. Paloma Zapata, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, explains that it’s not about “closing ourselves in and building a wall”. Zapata adds:

“We need to create bridges, and we need people to find solutions for the issues that we’re creating. Just because you’re sitting at home does not mean that you’re not producing carbon emissions.”

So what to do? For starters, change your habits and make practical choices to promote sustainability. It’s all about the mindset. Let’s look a few ways to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling.

Here are some tips:

Choose your mode of transport carefully

Transport generates the most greenhouse gas. When you have the option of travelling by plane, car, train or bus, choose wisely.

The International Council on Clean Transportation has calculated the passenger miles per gallon (pmpg) of planes and trains at a consistent 45 pmpg and 51 pmpg, respectively. Greyhounds and other inter-urban busses clock in at 152 pmpg.

If you have no other option other than travelling by plane – the worst offender of them all – there are still a few ways you could minimise your carbon footprint.

Choose direct flights where possible and skip the layovers. By buying carbon offsets through Climate Action Reserve, you can ensure that a tree is planted or a stretch of ocean is cleaned up.

Once you’ve reached your destination, limit the amount of time you travel by car as much as possible. When travelling, hire a bicycle instead or explore on foot.

Pack light, fly light

By carrying lightweight equipment and supplies, you exert less force, especially when travelling by vehicle. The lighter, the better.

When on an airplane – or any other mode of transport – carries heavy luggage, it uses more fuel. If you can travel with only a carry-on, do consider it. Not only will it save you time at the check-in counter, but it’s also easier to move around once you get to your destination.

Yours truly is a firm believer in the one-bag-travel mantra, and I’m constantly looking for ways to travel even lighter. I can fit two weeks worth of supplies into a 30L duffle backpack with room to spare.

  • Don’t pack an outfit for every day and don’t be lazy. Pack 2 or 3 shirts, 2 or 3 pants and wash as you need. Polyester dries a lot faster than cotton and should be dry again by morning.
  • Downscale your gadgets. Why travel with a 15 or 17″ laptop when you can get the same amount of work done a 10″ tablet with keyboard? It’s lighter, smaller and easier to haul around.
  • Collapsible and compact. Buy soap and shampoo sheets, they’re tiny and 50 x 2 cm sheets will last you quite a while. Get a travel towel. It’s under a R100 at most places and folds to the size of your fist.

Reduce your carbon footprint by generating less trash

If you haven’t heard about the Great Pacific garbage patch, prepare to be shocked. The mass of waste floating around the Pacific gyre spans about 1.6m square kilometres. It’s three times the size of France.

We have no other option but to refrain from using single-use plastics such as straws, takeaway coffee cups and plastic bags. Transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle takes some work but it’s easy enough to get the hang of.

When travelling, carry your own water bottle; a collapsible water bottle if you’re a one-bagger with limited space. Carry your own reusable shopping bag; they can usually be folded into a tiny ball and won’t take up too much space.

Carrying a small cutlery set with you will reduce the amount of plastic cutlery when ordering takeout. There’s a nifty little thing called a spork – spoon, knife and fork all in one – which is the perfect option for travelling foodies.

And, you know, when you’re out on your travels and you see a plastic bottle or a plastic bag lying around, it’s not going to kill you to pick up and recycle it properly. Most cities have recycling bins, we’re just too lazy to use it.

Save energy throughout your trip

Regardless of where you’re staying, don’t leave the lights and air conditioning on. Don’t think because you’re staying at a fancy hotel, it’s in order to leave the air conditioning on.

Central air conditioning units use 3.5 kilowatts per hour. If you were to turn it off for eight hours while you were out exploring, you would save 28 kilowatts. That’s the equivalent of more than 7.5 litres of fuel or charging 2 525 smartphones.

If you can, book through eco-friendly hotels as they save massive amounts of energy on everything from lighting to doing the laundry. Laundry accounts for 16% of an average hotel’s water usage. By cutting down on the laundry load, you’ll save water and other resources.

Happy traveling!

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: David Marcu [1], [2].

HSBC’s Expat Explorer Report 2019 Reveals Interesting Expat Insights

In HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer Report, the company reveals some interesting insights into expat life, and expat perceptions of various countries around the world.

The Expat Explorer Survey is aimed at providing people with information when they aren’t sure where they want to move, are trying to decide between a few countries, and want to compare their home country to those in which they’re interested.  To view the Survey’s results table, click here.

In the 2019 Survey, the top ranking countries were as follows:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Canada
  4. Spain
  5. New Zealand
  6. Australia
  7. Turkey
  8. Germany
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Vietnam

The countries were ranked according to criteria across 3 categories; Living (well-being and society), Aspiring (finances and ambition), and Little Expats (child-related factors).

Switzerland takes top position

Switzerland ranked highest overall, and has secured a position in the top 10 every year since 2011. An impressive 82% of expats in Switzerland have seen an improvement in their quality of life compared to their home country, with its stunning scenery a major contributing factor. Expats also praise Switzerland’s low levels of pollution, with 70% noting cleaner and more pleasant surroundings than they were used to at home. This is far higher than the global average with only 40% of all expats saying the same. Enhanced well-being doesn’t stop there. Home to Geneva, the City of Peace, Switzerland is renowned for its low crime rates and safe streets. Two-thirds (67%) of expats feel more secure there than in their home country.

Financial factors are where Switzerland continues to excel. Higher levels of disposable income are reported by 71% of expats, contributing to an average expat salary of $111,587, well above the global mean of $75,966. Expats also note the country’s remarkable levels of political and economic stability. In a year where almost half of expats globally (49%) are concerned about their country’s economic situation, only 20% in Switzerland have any such reservations, and 86% are relaxed about the country’s political status.

Expat life exceeds expectations for young professionals

Those who make the move abroad before their 35th birthday see the biggest boost in their pay packet and career potential, compared to older workers, leading to greater fulfillment and a securer financial future.

Almost half (47%) of young expats move abroad to further their career, and they are very much reaping the rewards. The majority (55%) become more confident while abroad, while more than seven in 10 (71%) learn new skills. They are also more likely to benefit from quicker promotions or move into a new career path entirely – with one in 10 even starting their own business after moving country.

Moving abroad early can also be the key to unlocking higher earnings. Four-fifths (80%) of young people aged under 35 years increase their earnings abroad. Expat Millennials can expect to see their income jump by over a third (35%), from an average global annual salary of $40,000 to just under $55,000. In comparison, for 35 to 54-year-olds, earnings increase by just under a quarter (24%), while the over 55s see a 9% increase.

With this increased windfall meaning more disposable income in the short-term, our data shows that Millennials are also thinking long-term. These expats told us home ownership was their top financial priority, with 45% of under 35s already on the property ladder.

Popular destinations for Millenials include Hong Kong, the USA, the UK, and Poland.

Tips from HSBC

The company notes that it is important to get ahead with as much admin as possible before departing. This includes not only organizing visas and sorting out financial matters and budgets, but also planning school applications and arranging healthcare services.

HSBC also suggests using the local language of your new home as soon as possible, and immersing yourself in the local culture, can allow you to develop a strong social circle and help you settle in faster. Joining interest-based clubs is one way to achieve this.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How to Deal With Expat Burnout

This article is courtesy of Vivien Chiona at Expat Nest.

Most of us will be familiar with the word “burnout” but what does it actually mean, and how does it apply to us as expats? Here are some signs of expat burnout and some pointers to help bring back the spark to your international life.

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. It is more commonly understood in the context of work, but can also occur due to stresses in relationships, financial problems or other external factors. Expats can become vulnerable to burnout – or “change fatigue” – when the stresses of a transition-rich lifestyle begin to feel overwhelming and impact our everyday functioning.

Symptoms of expat burnout

The sense of exhaustion, frustration with your expat lifestyle and increasingly frequent thoughts of wanting to give up and return home can indicate that you are heading for or experiencing expat burnout. You may feel constantly tired, unmotivated, hopeless and/or overwhelmed, and experience anxiety at the thought of moving house or country again.

Expat burnout can occur at any stage of an expat experience: when you’re preparing to move (again) to another country, when you’ve just arrived and are setting up your new life, or during the daily routine of an established expat life. For many expats this feeling will pass, but for some it may persist.

Tips for dealing with burnout

If you are questioning your decision to join the expat culture and have lost your sense of purpose or motivation, these pointers are a good start to getting back on track. For colleagues, friends and family of expats, they may offer ways for you to support the expat in your life.

  • Look after yourself first – Make your self-care a priority. On aeroplanes we are asked to place our own oxygen mask in an emergency, before assisting others. Listen to your body and mind: if you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, it’s a sign to take some time out and to prioritise your needs.
  • Go with the feeling – Step back and accept that you feel the way you do. Recognise that this uncomfortable feeling is a sign that you are stretched beyond your limits right now. Know that in time you will recover and begin to feel like yourself again.
  • Get back to basics – Stability is a basic need and there are simple ways to create it in your expat lifestyle. For example, establish a weekly routine that feels right for you; set up a regular chat slot with loved ones back home (e.g. Sunday 6pm); or plan simple and nutritious meals for the week, so that your diet supports your health and energy needs. For those who can’t avoid a highly mobile lifestyle or frequent travel, find continuity through rituals – this can be as simple as having breakfast at the same time every day no matter where you are.
  • Explore your current city or a new place – It’s easy to stick to what we know, seeing the same people and places. Follow your curiosity and explore what is around you and further afield. Look about with new eyes. You might discover some gems to refresh your outlook on expat life.
  • Have kinder expectations of yourself – Stop doing the things that are undermining your sense of wellbeing or putting unrealistic pressure on you. Take back control by reorganising your life step by step. Ask yourself: does this really have to be done today, or can it wait until I have more energy?
  • Schedule time to relax – Make sure your to-do lists build in plenty of rest and downtime! Set some time aside each day to unwind and do something that nurtures your soul, such as joining a meditation class, jogging or going for a walk (find what works for you). Making this a part of your daily routine is key to supporting your wellbeing.

Many expats will feel stressed and despondent at some point. It is important to recognise the signs so that the negative state doesn’t overwhelm you and lead to burnout. If you need any guidance or somebody to explore your feelings with, please feel free to contact us for extra support. We are always here for you.

With thanks to Sophie Patrick for her contribution to this article.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Erwan Hesry [1], [2].

Negotiating Styles Around the World. Which Do You Use?

Meredith Wood at Fundera has suggested that there are 5 main negotiating styles, and 6 cultural dimensions that differ between countries. Let’s take a look.

Our personalities play a major role in dictating how we behave and interact with others. They also contribute to the way we resolve conflict and negotiate. As a small business owner, you’ll likely have to negotiate for your company and as you grow, you may find yourself wading into international waters where negotiation styles may differ.

Whether you hope to find a great new product for your company or want to get the best manufacturing deal possible, communicating with people in different cultures is probably in your future as a small business owner.

To help you navigate negotiations with a foreign company, we’ve created an infographic with 10 major countries around the globe. We detail important traits of each country, the negotiation style that best fits their culture, and how you can adapt your own negotiation style to find the best solution for both sides.

Understanding the Five Negotiation Styles

Before trying to negotiate in another country, it’s important to understand the basics of negotiation and how they are affected by psychology and personality.

There are five main negotiation styles (also called conflict resolution styles). These styles vary based on the personality and background of the negotiator, their needs, and the urgency needed to find a solution.

Understanding how to interact with and adapt to different negotiation styles is imperative in coming to a satisfactory solution and maintaining good relationships with business partners.

When conducting business in foreign countries, take the time to research your opponents and understand their perspective and needs before beginning negotiations.

1. Competing: Confident and assertive, these negotiators tend to pursue their own needs and focus on results. They may be perceived as aggressive and controlling.
How to adapt to a competing negotiator: Maintaining your ground is important when interacting with a competing negotiator. State your position firmly and do not back down from important self-interests.

2. Avoiding: These negotiators approach conflict with caution, preferring not to cause tension. They may not outwardly express their own interests and often sacrifice those interests if their opponent has a stronger voice.
How to adapt to an avoiding negotiator: Expressing deadlines and communicating details early is critical when negotiating with an avoider. If no solution is reached, consider escalating the issue with a higher authority.

3. Accommodating: Relationships are important to these negotiators; they prefer to smooth out conflict if it arises, focus on maintaining positive communication with negotiating partners and satisfy the needs of others before their own.
How to adapt to an accommodating negotiator: Do not accept unnecessary concessions from this negotiator. Allowing others to give up too much may be detrimental to both sides in a long-term relationship.

4. Compromising: These negotiators prefer to find a middle-ground solution quickly rather than debate back and forth for long periods. Coming to an agreement that pacifies both sides is the ultimate goal of this negotiator.
How to adapt to a compromising negotiator: Maintaining the importance of your interests is crucial in a negotiation with a compromising style. Communicate your needs clearly and take the time to explore multiple alternatives before agreeing on a solution.

5. Collaborating: The optimal solution is the goal for this negotiator. They tend to focus on finding results that satisfy all parties and express honest communication during debate. These negotiators would prefer to weigh many options before finding the best result.
How to adapt to a collaborating negotiator: While a collaborative negotiation partner is often interested in taking the time to find good solutions for both parties, it may not be in your best interest to invest significant time in the negotiation. Clearly define your needs and do not accept alternatives to hard requirements.

No matter what the negotiation involves, it is important to always:

  • Clearly state your party’s interests and requirements.
  • Approach every negotiation with a willingness to communicate.
  • Understand your opponent’s negotiation style and perspective.
  • Blend your negotiation style to best adapt to opponents.

Understanding the Six Cultural Dimensions

Renowned psychologist and professor Geert Hofstede published a theory in the 1970s that describes dimensions of international cultures. These dimensions describe important social elements of culture, including how they impact communication and connection between populations.

The six cultural dimensions have become a vital part of international business communication and are important to successful negotiations in foreign countries.

1. Power Distance Index (PDI): This dimension focuses on how a culture perceives and interacts with authority. A low-scoring power distance culture emphasizes the importance of equality, while a high-scoring power distance culture exhibits a strong hierarchical structure.
Score of 0–49: equality
Score of 50–100: hierarchy

2. Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV): Cultures with high scores (individualistic) encourage their members to adopt a self-serving mentality and strive for personal achievement. Cultures with low scores (collectivistic) prefers tight-knit groups and emphasizes loyalty to a group or family before oneself.
Score of 0–49: group
Score of 50–100: personal

3. Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS): This dimension centers on achievement, assertiveness, and competition. High-scoring (masculine) cultures value success, heroism, and material reward. Low-scoring (feminine) societies focus on collaboration, consensus, and modesty.
Score of 0–49: modesty
Score of 50–100: heroism

4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): This expresses the degree to which a society tolerates differences and ambiguity. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance scores generally have rigid belief systems and low tolerance for unorthodox behavior or outsiders. Cultures with low uncertainty avoidance scores tend to be more relaxed when it comes to behavior, beliefs, and visitors.
Score of 0–49: tolerance
Score of 50–100: rigid beliefs

5. Long-Term Orientation versus Short-term Normative Orientation (LTO): Centering on the dichotomy of the past and the future, this dimension establishes how cultures interact with time. Low-scoring societies are long-term oriented, value tradition above all else, view social change with a skeptical eye, and set standards based on past events. Cultures with a high score (short-term normative orientation) encourage new ways of thinking, innovation, and education and set their sights on the future.
Score of 0–49: tradition
Score of 50–100: innovation

6. Indulgence versus Restraint (IND): This dimension focuses on quality of life, leisure time, and drive. A high-scoring (indulgent) society values leisure, gratification, and travel. A low-scoring culture (restraint) tends to limit this gratification in favor of stricter social norms like dress code or restricted travel.
Score of 0–49: strict norms
Score of 50–100: gratification

Negotiating in Different Cultures Across the Globe

To help you determine the best way to negotiate when conducting business in a foreign culture, Fundera created an infographic with 10 of the most culturally-diverse countries across the globe. We analyzed each country’s Hofstede scores and compared them to the negotiation styles that you will most likely encounter in that culture.

Remember: it’s important to research your negotiation partner before meeting with them. While our suggestions may fit your partner’s overall culture, negotiation style varies person to person! Be prepared to adapt to any negotiation style once you arrive at the meeting.

Click here to view the infographic.

Adapting to both conflict styles and cultural dimensions is crucial to successful negotiations in foreign countries. Remember, negotiators from other countries are unlikely to demonstrate the same negotiation style you use. For this reason, it is important to understand how you negotiate and how different cultures approach negotiations.

For the best results, thoroughly research appropriate business etiquette in the country you’ll be visiting and communicate your interests clearly when negotiating.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Eliott Reyna [1], [2], Joseph Grazone [3].