Managing Communication When Working Overseas

Managing Communication When Working Overseas


15 Sep 2020 | 5 min read

Working overseas can be a fantastic opportunity for millions of people. However, they can sometimes feel scared, alone, or detached from their families and friends while they are gone. Managing communication when time zones are different is challenging, even when you are in the same country. When that distance is multiplied significantly, it can feel as though you are moving too far away from family and friends to comfortably survive. Managing the stress of living thousands of miles from family and friends is dependent on learning how and when to communicate.

Plan It

When you are a foreign domestic worker, you can be quite busy! Plan communication times. Break out your planner (electronic or paper) and write down a time to call your loved ones each week. Check with them to see which day or time works best for them each week in a given set of times that are also convenient for you. Make a date to call them each week at that time.

Take Advantage of Apps

Many apps can now be used asynchronously. This is a godsend for people who are vastly different with their timing. If you are twelve hours different, planning a convenient time to talk can be torture. However, apps like Google Hangouts, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger can allow users to send and receive messages over Wi-fi without missed phone calls. This option is great if you want to make sure that your intended recipient is both online and awake. You will also be able to leave messages and get one later in return. This option is fantastic for people who lead significantly different schedules.

Teleconferencing, Facetime, or Video Calls

These calls are essential to feeling like you are not so far away from your family. You can talk through apps such as Zoom, Google Meets, or other video conferencing software. Beware of fees associated with some of the apps. However, using video conferencing may allow users to add several people to one session. Consider video calls such as Facetime or Messenger so that you can see the person you want to chat with. Be careful when you send the invitation to chat, and you may need to incorporate it in your weekly phone call, but seeing their face can make you feel much better.


Consider emailing your family and friends for more extended messages that cannot be delivered over phone calls. This is reserved for when you cannot call due to time differences or calling restrictions. Do not deliver important news over email, text, or other typed chat messages. These messages need to be reserved for well-being updates.

Go Old School

Sometimes the act of handwriting a letter is cathartic. Spend a little time writing letters to friends and family. If you are not restricted by public health protocols, look around for trinkets you may be able to send home. Make sure that these trinkets are small, like keyrings, and that you follow proper mailing procedures. If mailing gets too expensive, consider picking up small items you can bring back with you. If you mail a letter, send a hint each time you buy a trinket. For example, send your mom a letter and tell her you found some clothes that she will love. Then ask if she can tell what you purchased her.

Get a Hug

Sometimes, you will need to come home for a visit. When you are working overseas, your holidays are the most important moment of the year. You can coordinate schedules so that you can take that flight and go see your friends or family members. With public health concerns, you will want to check travel bans and restrictions in case things change, but going for a visit may be the best thing for you and your family. Invite them out to visit you as well. They can stay in a local hotel if your place cannot accommodate them. Live communication is sometimes the only thing that will satisfy the need for contact with home.

Consider the Topics

As mentioned in the email section, you will not want to deliver important news when the contact cannot hear your voice or see your face. However, you do need to express any concerns, mental health struggles, and other typical concepts. Everyone working in a new country has trouble adapting and coping, it seems. They do not always know how to manage the new laws and rules of the country while meeting friends and managing how they feel about missing loved ones. It is hard. When you are away, do not shy away from honest conversations about how you feel. Unless you are in an emergency situation, don’t worry your family and friends about your stability, but talking about your concerns can help.

Final Considerations When Working Overseas

Do not feel that you must make all communication attempts or that if you miss a weekly phone call, the world will end. Try multiple methods of communication. For instance, schedule a weekly phone call with mom and friends, and a Whatsapp group for contact with you. Send Messages as often as you can. She can watch the videos and send a video response when she is able. Text her or send Instagram direct messages so that she knows you are okay. Email her pictures of your recent sightseeing trip. It is okay to communicate in many ways. People do this when they live in the same city. Sometimes they go over for a visit, and sometimes they call. Make trips home when you need to, but you should also invite them out for a visit sometimes. Make communication a top priority so that you feel less alone. When you get a job to work abroad, try meeting new friends in your new city, though, because face-to-face human contact is essential for your mental health. When you are struggling, be honest. It is also okay to enjoy the distance.