Word of Managers: Pauline Son

A word about our still unrealistic Covid-19 world and how it affects internationals arriving in the The Netherlands

A considerable number of internationals assisted by our team are singles and couples in the age group of 25 to 32. We sympathize with this group especially, who arrived in our small country over the past eight months. In the ‘normal Netherlands’ they would have moved to – for example – the vibrant city of Amsterdam, focusing their energy on succeeding in a challenging new job, meeting new colleagues in the office, spending time with them and other new contacts, enjoying the inspiring vibes of living in a new destination for a couple of years and experience what this great new place and its people have to offer. They would have selected their own apartment with perhaps an extra room for friends from abroad staying over during a holiday break.
They would have used the Netherlands as a hub to explore Europe during short trips and undoubtedly Christmas would have been used for a homeleave to spend time with family and friends and catching up in person, sharing stories and pictures of the first half-year in their new home town abroad. 

Due to Covid-19 affecting the entire world, arriving in our country has unfortunately been a different experience. The good news is that the Netherlands in our opinion is not such a bad choice to be transferred to even under the current circumstances. The reliable and good medical facilities in the Netherlands have become an important decision-making factor and provide a sense of feeling safe. International employees may often find countries with a stable healthcare system more appealing than exotic locations.

Secondly, high-speed internet access is widespread in The Netherlands and Teams, Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp thus enables us to easily connect with local and international colleagues as well as friends at home. While events are currently cancelled and restaurants, bars and nightclubs are closed, shops and malls still remain open. Wearing a face mask is not mandatory but highly recommended in public indoor areas. Museums and gyms also still remain open and we see a lot of outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling and skating still taking place.  Furthermore golf and tennis have made a rise in popularity over the past months. Public transport is running largely according to schedule although it is recommended to only use trains, busses, trams and metro’s for necessary travel. Wearing a face mask is mandatory whilst using any public transit. Please be aware that there is a limit of max. four persons in a group, keeping 1,5 meters distance. 

So although the Netherlands is not in lockdown and still offers outdoor possibilities, internationals will be very limited in face-to-face connections and making personal contact with colleagues. Whilst working from home, they miss the spontaneous chat by the coffee machine, which used to offer interesting information about leisure and entertainment in the new home town.
Our team tries to facilitate newly arriving internationals the best way we can with this kind of information and also assist in this social aspect. We see many of our HR contact persons putting a lot of effort in this as well, and as a team, we can jointly successfully support in avoiding solitude and contribute to making their stay in our country still a good one! We are actively cooperating with various partners offering their own expertise to make their contributions. For example, there are great initiatives for guidance on cultural awareness in international teams working remotely. We strongly support this as missing body language and face-to-face contact for better understanding communication has a risk of not optimal functioning of the team.

Based on our own experience, we highly recommend colleagues to organize a fun‘Friday Digiborrel’ via Teams or Zoom, where a box with delicious drinks and snacks has been delivered at home, a Spotify playlist has been prepared and a pub quiz gives great entertainment and social connection!

For ideas and contacts for support, please feel free to reach out to our Relocation team. We are actively involved in connecting with internationals and checking-in ontheir well being and providing them with useful information. For the latest updates on border restrictions and other immigration requests, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Immigration team.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the second COVID-19 wave will soon be under control and that international traveling will enable our internationals to go on their December home leave and spend the holidays with their loved ones!  

Our team is ready to serve you!

Pauline Son, Director Operations & Sales 

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