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All suited up and nowhere to go

Written by on 26th September 2013
Category: Business Travel

Thousands of young professionals are sent to a far-away city on assignment or secondment every day. They could be away for six weeks or six months or even permanently relocated. Regardless of the length of stay, however, the most significant factor in the failure of such assignments continues to be personal rather than professional issues. We often get suited up for a new assignment without necessarily planning for our arrival.

Not only do assignees have to adapt to a new workplace, serviced apartment and town or city but they also have to deal with the isolation of being away from friends and family. In the case of international assignments there are also differences in language and customs to grapple with, as SilverDoor’s Caroline Saunders recently discovered in her latest blog.

Failed assignments are a big cost to business, not just financially but in lost opportunities too. So what tips can we give to help new assignees adapt to their new surroundings and make the most of their opportunity?

If we take the advice of the 2012 Ernst and Young ‘Global Mobility Effectiveness’ survey and focus on personal issues, perhaps the most obvious aspect is making friends and also dating.

Top tips for immersing yourself in a new environment:

1.       Join a sports team or club.

Whether it’s rugby or table tennis, most sports clubs have a great social culture that extends off the pitch and into the bar.

2.       Take up a hobby.

If you’re not athletically inclined, there are still a wealth of other clubs and hobbies which cater to all interests from campanology to owling.

3.       Find love or companionship online.

Online dating these days is no more taboo than moisturiser for men. You may want to be wary about which site you use, however, or risk following the adventures of the 28 dates later blog.

4.       Seek a professional event.

If it’s not romance you’re after, why not try one of the many websites which organise talks and events for the modern professional wishing to take their networking offline, such as Provisita or

5.       Give your colleagues a chance.

It might be difficult to break the ice and talk to a colleague about something other than work in some office cultures. Make the effort to join in with after-work drinks or meals, however, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

The busiest cities in the world can be lonely places if you’re not with people you know. However, it’s never been easier to connect with and meet like-minded souls; whether it’s finding others who share your hobby, meeting fellow fans at a gig or booking a last-minute restaurant table for a spontaneous hot date…