An all-rounded experience

Relocating employees are often determined to ensure their overseas assignment is not only a professional success, but something that also leaves them and their families personally fulfilled. HRM highlights how serviced apartments are equipping themselves to satiate both the business and personal interests of guests.

Tonya Khong, Area General Manger, Southeast Asia, Frasers Hospitality, says there are certain essentials that every relocating executive and their family need whenever they move to pastures anew.

These include the freedom of being able to get around the new city easily, being able to contact home, the ability to work across different time zones, and at the same time, the security of knowing family members are happy and safe while at work.

“With this in mind, our serviced apartments are developed to ensure residents feel they are self-sufficient and well taken care of,” says Khong.

“Complimentary scheduled shuttle bus services to key business and shopping districts, complimentary internet connections, business, leisure and family-friendly facilities and services, are all in place to ensure executives have everything they need to settle in as quickly as possible.”

For relocating employees, it’s no longer sufficient to simply be housed in high-standard accommodation; they expect serviced residence providers to afford them with facilities and activities that cater to a wholesome work-life balance.

The provision of these services are all the more crucial, considering the fact that overseas-based employees are away from the pleasures of their own homes, and could be prone to lapses of homesickness and boredom.

A gamut of activities

According to Khong, Frasers Hospitality’s full suite of lifestyle facilities allows residents to enjoy work-life balance without having to leave the premises; that itself is regarded as another plus point.

“These include 24-hour gymnasiums, swimming pools, sauna and steam rooms, outdoor recreational facilities and restaurants, housekeeping, room service, shuttle bus services, and 24-hour concierge and security,” she explains.

Khong says a great deal of effort is put in to help business executives and their families feel at home in their new country of residence.

“For example, this could include taking note of the little things such as how they like their pillows arranged, their beverage preferences, and, where possible, ensuring residents are served by the same housekeepers throughout their stay,” she states.

Family, and children in particular, also weigh heavily in the thoughts of serviced apartment providers, such as Frasers Hospitality.

“A wide variety of family-friendly facilities and services such as children’s playrooms and wading pools, regular shuttle bus services to key business and shopping districts, babysitting services, and the Fraser Kids Club are available to make our guests’ stays all the more memorable,” says Khong.

In addition, regular social and recreational activities that cultivate interaction among residents, such as sightseeing tours to local attractions, movie screenings and storytelling sessions for children, are also organised.

The issue of security cannot be discounted when it comes to ensuring that residents, both employees and their families, are able to immerse themselves in fun-filled activities.

“We recognise the importance of safety and security. All our serviced apartments provide 24-hour reception, concierge, security and closed-circuit television coverage,” explains Khong.

Technology matters

Work-life balance matters have also now been extended online.

Khong says that as the world becomes increasingly mobile and technology-dependent, guests’ expectations have also become more digitally motivated, especially when it comes to business executives.

“Gadgets and conveniences such as iPod docking systems, multi-unit charging stations, high-speed seamless Internet connectivity and the ability to research, and make bookings, changes and special requests via mobile are a given,” she elaborates.

Hence, complimentary high-speed internet connection is provided throughout to ensure seamless connections.

“The e-Concierge service within the properties also serves as an online resource that both the executive and their family can easily tap into anytime and anywhere to obtain updated information on the property and the city they are in,” Khong states.

She says business executives who have stayed in her organisation’s serviced apartments also appreciate the modern conveniences and efficiencies that comes within their dwellings, such as iPod docking stations, and state-of-the-art home entertainment systems.

“Having a comfortable workspace within the apartment and access to the in-house business centre support provides them with the flexibility of being able to work effectively from the comfort of their own home,” Khong says.

Convenience is key

From Khong’s perspective, professionals on overseas work assignments seek accommodation that provides convenience in terms of location, facilities and services.

“With their priority focused on accomplishing their work assignment, living in a serviced apartment that helps them and their family settle in as seamlessly as possible is of great advantage,” she says.

“The array of lifestyle and wellness facilities provided within reach will also allow them to seamlessly balance work and life throughout their stay.”

It’s all about location

In the words of Tonya Khong, Area General Manger, Southeast Asia, Frasers Hospitality, “location is key”.

She says living in a strategic location that is within and close to the Central Business District is a great advantage to relocating employees in helping them reduce unnecessary time spent commuting to work.

“The convenience of being located near the city’s shopping, dining and leisure amenities also enhances their whole experience of being in another country,” explains Khong.


Revealed: World’s most difficult languages

For some relocating employees, ensuring that they maintain a healthy work-life balance may encompass them learning a new language, in order to communicate better with their local counterparts and to engage in fun-filled social activities away from the workplace.

Domestic and global relocation services firm Cartus asked several hundred relocation and HR professionals, “Which language do you think would be most difficult to learn?”

Unsurprisingly perhaps, survey respondents in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions listed Mandarin Chinese (38% of respondents worldwide) as the toughest language to master, followed by Japanese and Arabic (tied at 18%).

“Relocation professionals, who work with employees being transferred around the world, understand the importance of mastering languages other than their own,” said Patrice Heinzer, Vice President of Intercultural and Language Solutions for Cartus.

“The perception that Mandarin is a particularly difficult language to learn, particularly for Western language speakers, is due to its thousands of characters and tonal inflections that give different meanings to words,” she says.

“It is the ability to understand the ‘meaning behind the meaning’ that enables people living and working abroad to become truly effective, not just in negotiating and influencing but even in the simplest business and everyday interactions.”

Cartus also quizzed relocation professionals as to which language they most wanted to study.

Respondents from three regions all agreed, citing Spanish as their first choice.



Meet the residents

One of the highlights of Frasers Hospitality’s social calendar is its monthly Residents’ Nights.

According to Tonya Khong, Area General Manger, Southeast Asia, Frasers Hospitality, these parties are often themed around local festivals such as Hari Raya, Christmas, Deepavali, and Chinese New Year, to help residents integrate into their new country of residence and provide a cultural experience that makes their stay with Frasers Hospitality all the more meaningful.


Analysing the Workday advantage

Sandeep Aggarwal, Chief Financial Officer of Aon-Hewitt Asia-Pacific, shares his thoughts on the Workday finance and HR analytics platform. He says the cloud-based system is intuitive and easy-to-use, but still provides powerful insights across the functions.

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