In today’s corporate world, one question inevitably asked is whether one is willing to relocate on account of work or not? When an employee gets transferred, the spouse often accompanies, without the promise of a job. There are very few companies that recognize the importance of an accompanying spouse or commonly known as a trailing spouse. We prefer to call them as the supporting spouse constructively.
Who is a supporting spouse?
A supporting spouse or a traveling spouse is the one who takes complete responsibility of the household and accompanies the better half who gets relocated on a work assignment. In most cases, it is often the wife who accompanies her husband when he transfers for work.
The supporting spouse gives her constant support to the family and ensures they are comfortably settled in the new place. She looks into the minute requirements of every family member and is the unsung hero of the family.
What happens to the supporting spouse post-relocation?
Once the relocation process is over, and the family is settled into the new place, it is the accompanying spouse who is still trying to settle in because what one does not realize is that she has left an essential part of her life behind to be with the family.
For a wife who has left her job, her identity and her social circle will often feel abandoned because the husband is busy adjusting to the new job profile, and she is left playing the role of both the mother and the father.
Gradually the wife becomes unfocused, feels blotted out, and craves social interaction. This continued sense of distress often leads to negativity and, ultimately, dissatisfaction.
While on the other hand, the husband is not only having new experiences but is also making new acquaintances.
Why should the company have a plan for the supporting spouse?
The tendency of dissatisfaction in the supporting spouse might also result in them persuading the husband to move back to the old place. This may also give rise to familial tensions, which will ultimately start affecting the performance of the employee.
As an employer, one should not discount the personal issue of an employee. A company stands to lose a decent amount which was invested in relocating the employee – if the employee were to request for a transfer back to the old office.
What should the company do to make it easier for the employee?
From the perspective of a company, they can always arrange a welcome dinner for the couple, this way, the traveling spouse not only meets her husband’s new colleagues, but she also gets an opportunity to interact socially.
One must always remember that man is a social being, and this small gesture will create a lasting impression in the heart of the employee and his wife.
The company can arrange for career counseling sessions for the supporting spouse. To familiarise the couple with the new place, they can always arrange a day tour around the city.
They could also create a relocation pocket journal that will assist the spouse in locating the excellent schools in the vicinity, nearest hospitals, gas connection office, bank address, famous restaurants, and weekend getaways around the city.
These small actions often pay off in the long run for a company, as this will make the employee feel cared for. A company that gives importance – not only to the employee but also to the spouse will gain newfound respect in their hearts. And don’t we all know that a Happy Spouse will keep a Happy House?