What it Takes for Newly Arrived Expats to Adjust to Remote Work Culture in the US

It sounds like an oxymoron–remote work and expats. Picture this: An expat flies to the United States for work, but ends up working remotely anyway. There are stories like this that demonstrate how unique the remote work culture has become. 

Expats may find themselves isolated too, but it doesn’t really matter when companies are also considering making all their employees come back to the office. 

Thus, it’s just a matter of time before expats come to their assigned work location — and interact with their colleagues, in person, not on a Zoom call. 

As soon as that happens, global mobility pros need to make sure that their talents have the right mindset to interact with their colleagues. They need to bring their set of skills and qualities that will make them ready for both — remote work and in-office arrangement. 

Global mobility professionals should only hire expats who are open to change, willing to take on new challenges, and able to handle uncertainty and ambiguity — whether they’re assigned a hybrid work assignment, full-on remote or office presence. 

Being culturally aware is good. While Northern California is already quite diverse,  a talent’s work culture from his home country could of course be different. But by being mindful, an experienced expat can build relationships and communicate effectively with their colleagues.

Communication skills and professionalism are critical

Communication skills are critical. Try to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients, to write clearly and concisely, and to be able to listen actively. Communication skills are essential for building relationships, resolving conflicts, and achieving business objectives.

Self-reliance is another important quality for an experienced expat. Remote work often requires working independently, and it is essential to be able to handle challenges and solve problems without close supervision. An experienced expat should be resourceful, adaptable, and able to work autonomously.

Professionalism is another critical quality that global mobility professionals and recruiters look for in their talented expats. This means their talents should conduct themselves with integrity, showing respect for others, and adhering to professional standards.

Remote work often requires a high level of self-discipline and the ability to manage time effectively. Expats who possess excellent time management skills can thrive in a remote work environment, meeting deadlines and achieving business objectives.

Expats who possess excellent problem-solving skills can quickly identify and resolve issues, contributing to the success of their team and organization.

Flexibility and freedom 

Remote work provides greater flexibility and freedom. It can also offer a more diverse and inclusive work environment.

According to a study by MBO Partners, experienced expats are well-positioned to succeed in the remote work environment, with 80% of them stating that they feel confident in their ability to work remotely. Also, 63% of expats said that they feel more productive when working remotely, and 76% said that remote work allows them to achieve a better work-life balance.

With remote work becoming more prevalent, the opportunities for experienced expats to thrive are increasing, and it is essential to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field.

For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a sudden shift to remote work for many industries — and people. 

For example, some software engineers from India were recruited by a US-based tech company to work on-site in their headquarters in California. However, when the pandemic hit and travel restrictions were imposed, they found themselves in California but not in the offices.

While it may require some adjustments and adaptations, remote work can offer unique opportunities and benefits for expats, including greater flexibility and freedom. With the right skills and mindset, expats can thrive in a remote work environment and work on building a solid career, remotely or not. 

Emotional intellience is a key trait

Emotional intelligence is another key trait. This involves the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. This can help remote workers to build strong relationships with colleagues and clients, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts in a productive way.

Accountability is also important for remote workers. This means taking responsibility for one’s own work and being reliable and consistent in meeting deadlines and delivering quality work.

Creative thinking is another essential skill for remote workers, as they often need to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. This requires the ability to think outside the box, generate new ideas, and approach challenges from different angles.

Resilience is also important for remote workers, as they may face unique challenges and stresses, such as isolation, distractions, and blurred work-life boundaries. The ability to bounce back from setbacks, stay motivated, and maintain a positive attitude is key to success in remote work.

Teamwork wins in pro sports as it does in work

Teamwork is another important characteristic for remote workers — more so in the US, especially in professional sports. But what works there applies to every company as well. 

While remote work often involves working independently, it also requires the ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients, build relationships, and communicate clearly.

Continuous learning is also essential. This means staying up-to-date on industry trends, new technologies, and best practices, as well as seeking out opportunities for professional development and growth.

Finally, passion is a key characteristic for successful remote workers. This involves being passionate about one’s work, finding purpose and meaning in what one does, and staying motivated and engaged even in the face of challenges.

In conclusion, while technical proficiency is important for remote work, these soft skills are just as crucial for success. By cultivating these characteristics, remote workers can thrive in their roles and make a positive impact on their organizations.