THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON: PREPARING EMPLOYEES FOR RELOCATION DURING CHINESE NEW YEAR
Moving to a new country can be a big undertaking, with lots of change for the relocating employee and their family. But there are also certain considerations and traditions to be observed when arriving in a new location during special holidays, such as Chinese New Year. In this Year of the Dragon, Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival), falls on February 10 and lasts until February 17 in China. One-sixth of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year, and it is both the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar and longest public holiday.
The Logistics of Moving and Destination Services During Chinese New Year
- Be aware that it is a challenging time to travel into or around China. Chinese New Year marks one of the world’s largest annual human migrations and travel can be chaotic, as well as expensive. Also, many tourist sites, shops, and restaurants are closed. Overall, during the Chinese New Year period you can expect a slower turnaround when it comes to decisions and approvals.
- Many relocation services must be booked or completed before the start of the Golden Week in China. In Singapore and Malaysia, where Chinese New Year is also celebrated, relocation is less impacted as local Chinese businesses and government offices are only closed for two days. Sirva usually sees a rush in initiations/bookings just before Chinese New Year.
- In Vietnam, Chinese New Year is known as Lunar New Year (Tet), the most important holiday in Vietnam. It is a five-day holiday during which it is customary for workers to return to their hometowns. Due to this, local businesses are known to close during this time.
- If you have an employee looking to relocate to China or the surrounding areas that celebrate Chinese New Year, keep in mind that the week before, the time during the holiday, and the week after there are likely to be delays.
- In China, many people travel home for the holiday, so there is less labor available such as domestic help, food delivery drivers, and plumbers.
- For destination services like preview trips, we suggest employees either conduct their trip in January or push it out until March.
- While orientation and settling in matters can be covered during Chinese New Year, from a property perspective, some landlords may already leave for the holiday or realtors will be away and employees will only be able to see limited options.
- China outbound or inbound shipments may be impacted since the customs clearance process might take longer. There is less labor available for rush packing, as many workers tend to leave one week before new year and return one week after new year. It is important to remind employees of this situation and that they need to plan ahead and get packed in advance. Employees may also want to look into a one-off exception to approve extra storage at the home or host location if they are moving during this time.
Embrace and Enjoy the Festival
We encourage employees to find out their Chinese Zodiac sign and have some fun during Chinese New Year. Most often, Chinese citizens will not expect foreigners to understand or even observe the same traditions as they do. However, showing respect and curiosity for these traditions will be welcomed and will make the employee’s transition easier.
For more information on how Sirva can provide guidance and intercultural training tools to help your organization prepare employees headed to this region, please email us at email@example.com or reach out to your Sirva representative.