Expat partners are often well-placed to create a much more harmonious weekly schedule than they had at home. What’s the catch? They have to build it up from scratch.
Burn and churn culture
There is much to be said for having a harmonious work-life balance. It can improve not only our physical, emotional and mental health, but also our career health. Worldwide, employers are becoming more aware that burnout is a real issue. In a 2017 study, 95% of human resource leaders in the US said employee burnout was sabotaging workforce retention.
Less is actually more
And the older we get, the more we should be mindful of our capacity. A seminal study from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research argued that people over the age of 40 perform at their most productive levels when not working more than three days a week.
Easier said than done
The irony for many expat partners is that they will worry about having too much time on their hands. If they’re idle, they feel as though they’re not advancing their career. This can be especially daunting, if they were used to working full time at home. But they should look on the bright side: they are in an enviable position, and can construct their own ideal work-life balance.
Prepare to compromise
As life abroad can initially feel like a full-time juggling act, many expat partners might hope to secure a part-time job, leaving plenty of time for household management and/or taking care of their family. But often it is just not possible to find a part-time role that is suited to their career-to-date. Instead they might have to seek out part-time opportunities linked to their interests or expat life. As with any full-time role, they need to make sure they discuss expectations, timelines and responsibilities for any part-time position (whether it’s paid or voluntary).
A balancing act
Expat partners trying to develop their own small business, or if working part-time remotely, should consider how much time they wish to commit to the venture / occupation. They should also find ways to get out of the house, stay fit and forge meaningful links with the community. The balance of part-time work and expat life can indeed be a healthy and fulfilling one. Time should be taken when considering how to put all the pieces together.