Self Awareness Is The Best Tool In Periods Of Transitions

Self-Awareness is the ability to observe yourself without any judgement. You accept everything about you: your strengths and your weaknesses. Everything about life is about ups and downs and this is reflected in human nature. What is dangerous is not making any effort of nurturing a strong relationship with yourself.

How you relate to others is more to do about how you relate to yourself. Managing your fears and hopes, learning new skills, using your guts instincts are all part of managing your relationship with your own self. Assuming that there is nothing that you can do about your own personality and everything is about others’ attitude towards you is more about being the “victim” and not being your own master. How many of your existing relationships do you have where you feel comfortable to be in your own shoes? If it is over 90%, then you are living true to your spirit. On the other hand, if it is a struggle to interact with people around you whether at work or in your personal life, then it is time to raise your self awareness.

Self awareness takes you out of your comfort zone as it challenges you to think differently. Your set of values and beliefs may need re assessment. What has served you so well in the past, may be getting in the way of you achieving your goals. There is no need to discard everything and adopt new ones. There is always some fine tuning to be done. Flexing your behaviour is not achievable if you are not ready to discard your pride. It is your pride that “tells” you that your past achievements give you the right to think that you know best. Each level of success requires you to go through a learning curve and that can be done most effectively when you are ready to be the “student”.

You have to take risks: to be in that place where nothing is for sure – you can be winning or losing. Whatever the outcome, it is the experience that matters. It may sound cliché. The human brain – all it knows is limits, potential, options. If you show the way to a range of possibilities then the mind gets used to think out of the box. There will be less “what ifs” on the next round. Of course, failures have a negative impact. They can stop you in your momentum. It is not your potential self that is stopping you. It is that part of you that is all about “know it all”. Well, that is part of your limitations. Your potential self is more excited about adventure, getting to do things differently. There may be parts of your personality that you will get to know better when you are willing to open your horizons.

Of course, there will be those moments where you feel inadequate as a true beginner is. You are used to know what to do next and you are now totally confused. This state of confusion, if taken too seriously, undermines your confidence. If you tackle it by making it more as a game then the pressure eases off considerably. At some point in time, you will feel that this is becoming something of second nature to you. Getting used to not knowing everything is a great skill when you start a new job, make a career change, relocate or start a new phase in your life.

Taking steps towards goals are real affirmations as your unconscious can actually “witness” your actions. The more steps you take towards your goals, the more you are comfortable in doing them. That raises your self confidence, boosts your morale when you focus on your ease in doing them rather than the missed attempt.

As Lao Tzu once said: “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. So, be like water:).

How To Build A Strong Performing Team Across Different Cultures And Borders?

With cloud computing, web conferencing and other technological tools, more and more people are expected to work in virtual teams. Teams are often set up for a specific purpose such as an investment transaction and they are then disbanded upon completion of the transaction. It implies that the newly set up team have to learn to collaborate, within a short space of time, so as to be able to complete the tasks or project that they have been assigned to. Team work now takes a whole different meaning.

Virtual teams are sometimes large in size involving 50 people or more, based in various countries and coming from different professional background. How to ensure that such teams are able to live up to the expectations of their employer(s) ?  Working in such teams requires a number of soft skills: flexibility in behavioural style, ability to put yourself in the shoes of others (empathy), keeping an open mind and self awareness. They are skills that are not acquired through technical training but mainly through trial and error, coaching and commitment towards oneself if you intend to pursue a career in multinational companies.

It is also the responsibility of the employers to create an environment that encourages a collaborative culture and minimises intercultural disharmony. When employees are valued for their contribution and value based behaviour, they are encouraged to be a valuable team player. Incentives that focus on credentials and age are restrictive as they do not reward those who go the extra mile to ensure team cohesion. It is true that some cultures value seniority and hierarchy. Building team cohesion in these cultures would mean encouraging the senior executives to set the right example. A great performing team would certainly lead to more career advancement for everyone including the team leader and the senior executives involved.

Efficiency needs to be measured by how the team as a whole has reached consensus in making choices. Rapid and fast decision making sometimes leads to frustration amongst the team members as they may feel not being listened to. Frustration, anger can lead to disruptive behaviour from those same team members. Implementation of any decision becomes more of a challenge as no team consensus was reached. Decisions will then have to be reviewed or changed at a later stage leading to additional unexpected costs.

Culturally diverse teams are indeed more complex to manage and lead. It is important to set certain ground rules: conflict resolution, setting up and running meetings. As human beings, we tend to pay more attention to negative information because it is a sign of danger. Unresolved conflicts or tension amongst team members of different cultures may lead to the wrong assumptions being made about these cultures: “They are incompatible and cannot work together”. All efforts of building a strong team spirit have then been wasted and having to start from scratch once more is very disheartening for those involved.

A great team is one which can regularly attract the right talents because people are more than willing to join them. The team dynamic is such that it encourages the right attitude amongst the team members. Performing teams are able to resolve day to day issues on their own and lean towards their team leaders or senior executives for strategic direction. Team leaders do play an important role in helping the team members resolve issues. Mentoring and coaching become embedded in their attitudes towards managing their teams.

Encouraging and nurturing social relationships amongst the team members is an important investment to make as it helps them to bond and build trust from within. Over time, they tend to genuinely care for each other and are open about what works and what does not work in terms of team dynamics. When the team, as whole, become conscious of their weaknesses and discuss openly about them, they become stronger as they are willing to face their inherent challenges and find solutions that work for the team. Hiding behind excuses or blaming others actually undermines the respect that outsiders have for the team members.

It is essential that team performance is not limited to quantitative targets such as number of investment transactions achieved or level of sales attained, time to implement or complete the project. Other indicators such as level of absenteeism amongst the team members, regular review of the soft skills set of each team member, how well each team member know each other are important to assess the team’s performance. Incentives need to ensure that the interests of the team members are all aligned and they are meant to cooperate and not compete with each other.

Mixed Marriages/Interracial Relationships Are About Being With Each Other.

I would like to thank all those who participated in the survey. Your feedback is very useful and I am grateful that you have been willing to share something of your personal lives. A big THANK YOU!

50% of the respondents have been together with their partners or spouses for more than 15 years. One third of the respondents have been in a relationship for less than a year. There have been more women taking part in the survey than men.

Interracial marriages require a lot of personal commitment from each partner or spouse. Based on the responses received, some couples have overcome challenges to be together. They have had to face family dissent in some cases and have remained firm in regards to their personal engagement towards their partner/spouse. It shows that mixed marriages/relationships are more about breaking down the barriers of cultural ignorance and learning to be with someone, more for the person as he or she truly is.

Two thirds of the respondents chose “shared core values” as one of the foundations of their relationships. Common interests seems to be the second most important factor in building strong bonding between the two partners or spouse. “Love, adoration and respect” has been the basis of the strong bonding according to another respondent. In this case, mixed marriages/relationships do not seem to be any different from any other relationship that someone builds over time. Friendships, family bondings, business partnerships also require some of those ingredients for them to last over time.

Listening to each other and continuous communication have been chosen as the means to resolve conflicts between the partners/spouse. Over 80% chose to resolve their disagreements internally. Very few have chosen to use an external party to help them and in a few cases, time heals the rifts between the partners/spouse.

For those who have children, raising their children is about teaching them their shared core values. Some couples have chosen to give their children the freedom to choose their own religious faith. None of the respondents choose to educate their children in both religious faiths, indicating that religious education is not a priority. It is difficult to imply anything as I have not made any survey for marriages/relationships of the same race.  However, it is true that most parents educate their children those core values that they believe their children need to endorse.

The main advice that the respondents give, based on their own experiences, is to focus on building the bonding between the two partners/spouses. What others think is less important. It is also important to be aware that a mixed union comes with different challenges and be prepared for them. Being curious about each other’s cultural background helps to nurture mutual respect for each other.

My biggest take away from the various responses received – interracial marriages or relationships are about being with each other as they truly are… it is not about the partner’s social status or what he or she represents but more for the person as he/she is at the time of the relationship. Because of the additional complexity of the challenges, it is difficult to be in a relationship if the motivation is anything other than strong feelings of love and respect. I hope that the results of the mini survey is useful to the readers and gives you some useful insights as well.

Social Media Networking Strategy – Demystified by John Coupland

Like most SME owners. I have been told that it is important to have an online presence so as not to lose any sales opportunities. True, 90% of our sales come from our online presence.  More and more people make online purchases, look for online reviews and research online before they make up their mind. So, I have decided to include social media in the business strategy. A few years ago, I have been to a number of workshops about social media. I tried to use my notes to help me navigate the online landscape. In terms of business management, I tend to try out on my own first so that I understand the implications and build a working knowledge of it. When the time is right, I can then go and hire the person whom I think will fit with what I need.

Is Social Media a hype or is it truly something that can be leveraged in any business strategy?

I attended a talk by John Coupland, some years ago. He offered a number of practical tips. I bought his book: “ ACCELerate Your Social Media”, thinking that it may come useful. Like any typical business owner, I have allowed things to get in the way and focused more on operations rather than strategic vision. I opened the book very recently when I have been reviewing the marketing strategy of my business. It is the first time that mapping out a strategy that includes both online and offline networking strategies became reality. Within 2 months of implementing some of John’s tips, I am now seeing the results with increased sales leads.

John talks about “return on investment” – a measure that clearly indicates a results oriented approach. This is what he mainly preaches when it comes to an overall online strategy. He helps you determine the target Return On Investment and plan the strategy that will help you achieve it. In his book, John provides a number of tools to review your social media strategy and it actually helped me to identify the gaps that I need to address to make my online strategy more effective.  Whatever works – replicate, replicate and replicate!

Integrating your social media strategy into your overall business strategy is critical. However, many people think that it is about having an online presence. It is goes beyond that. Engagement creates sales leads and strengthens your network. So, merging the offline with the online is crucial. Everything is about People First. Very few people follow up once you have accepted their request to be part of their Linkedin network. In many networking events, not many people would ask you what they can do for you… The reason to meet should be of potential benefit. “Great networking is about bringing the best out of people. If you achieve this, you will be bringing the best out of yourself too.”- John Coupland

It is difficult to engage with your network all at the same time and on a regular basis. So creating a “Core Network” that can add value and whom you can also support is recommended. The Core Network may account for only 20% of your whole network and will bring 80% positive results – the Pareto Principle.

Social media should be used as a means to support the other appropriate channels to market your business. John recommends to start with a couple of social networks. “Less Is More”. There are No “must have” social networks. As a business owner, this is very relevant as being in the driving seat means that you are overseeing the whole operations, thinking strategically and reviewing occasionally to assess your progress. Building strong relationships with your network is more effective in generating business rather than spreading your engagement too thinly across many.  His next advice is “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid.

Also, networking is about leveraging the collective wisdom and experience. So, it is important to network not only with potential clients but also with experts in your industry too. Clarity and consistency is key in your communication. Your online presence across different social media network needs to be consistent.

Effective and great networking works when you

  1. Have a positive Attitude
  2. Think the bigger picture
  3. Are Creative
  4. Are giving
  5. Have a “Can Do” approach

As Anon says it well: “ if you want to be incrementally better, Be Competitive! If you want to be exponentially better,  Be Cooperative!”

 

Mixed Marriages/Partnerships/Relationships – the Reunion of Two Worlds

Mixed Marriages/Partnerships/Relationships – the Reunion of Two Worlds

Mixed marriages or interracial marriages have been the subject of a number of political and social debates. In United States, interracial marriage became legally possible in June 1967 when Richard and Mildred Loving won their legal battle. The Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Alabama was the last state to repeal the law prohibiting interracial marriage in 2000.

In real life, mixed marriages have been the subject of much controversy because a lot of attention is focused on the cultural gap to be filled in between the two spouses or partners. The preservation of one’s cultural identity, religious faith becomes at the forefront for the families of each spouse. More practical issues such as what food to cook at home, how to raise the children are some of the challenges facing couples with different cultural and religious background.

As major capital cities such as London, New York becomes more culturally diverse, mixed marriages gradually become less of an exception. At the end of the day, any married couple is made up of two people sharing common interests and similar core values, coming from similar socio economic background and having similar hobbies. Bonding takes place easier when more attention is given to similarities than to differences.

As a cross cultural coach, I believe that mixed marriages have a lot to teach in terms of cultural intelligence, religious tolerance and social harmony. I am fascinated to learn more about what makes the key ingredient of a great interracial marriage. Is it truly the dynamics of two people in love with each other or is it the ability to flex one’s behaviour for the sake of the other or is it the creation of a unified identity rather than a melting pot of diversity?

I have prepared a small survey of 10 questions for those who are or have been in mixed marriages or relationships and who would like to share their feedback on an anonymous basis. The website link – please click here

The survey will be available over next week for those who want to participate. Please share it with your friends, colleagues and family members. The more people responding to the survey the greater the collective wisdom!!   The results of the survey will be shared shortly after in another blog to be posted in the week of 25th July 2016.

The Sharing Economy, Millennials And The Abundance Mindset

Uber, Air Bnb have transformed their respective industries by bringing in new values and mindset. They have promoted values or concepts related to living in community, sharing, “win win” solutions and this has worked wonderfully well in an era where Millennials are now able to dictate the market.

Creating a “win win” solution and sharing what you have with others are part of the Abundance mindset. People adopting this mindset are more open to working in teams, supporting each other and having a longer term vision. They are willing to try out new concepts and create a whole new dimension of experiences. Someone with an abundance mindset considers any challenge as an opportunity worth taking and any failure as valuable lessons for the future.

Millennials have similar values and mindset. They were born in the globalisation era and have lived in places where it is “normal” to listen to a number of different languages being spoken. They value their freedom to go and do as they please without having to worry about “what others will say or think”. For them, their identity is not attached to owning branded products or being seen as living a certain lifestyle. Their identity is more related to what they believe in: fairness, tolerance, flexibility. They would be willing to make a purchase if that purchase supports the cause they believe in.

Making a “quick” profit or buying into a “glamorous” lifestyle is not what they would be supporting. This is similar to having an abundance mindset. Being you and not wanting to compare yourself with others, being appreciative of others and valuing relationships are amongst the various traits of someone having an abundance mindset.

It is difficult to fake an abundance mindset when you don’t believe in it. Your actions will not reflect your speech and thoughts. For businesses to tap into this growing generation of millennials, they would probably need to do more than understanding the psychology behind it. They would need to embrace it fully!!! With social media being their main means of communication, a number of Millennials are all about being in the open and sharing their views about everything to everyone. So faking it would only hurt the long term sustainability of your business.

How do you know whether you have an abundance mindset and how do you know whether your business is geared to tap into this growing generation of potential clients, employees and business associates?  Here are two tests that help find out for yourself. Abundance Mindset and Are You A Millenial?

Networking Can Be Fun For Introverts

Networking, networking and networking – this is the most common advice given to anyone looking to change jobs, to find more clients or to make a career change… When you are an introvert like I am, it seems a formidable challenge when I was first given this advice a few years back. Having recently settled in the UK and looking for business opportunities, networking in an environment as a newcomer seems almost impossible.

I knew that I would be able to network effectively at some point in time in the future. It required me to get out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. That is something that I have had a lot of practice over the years. I focused on my ultimate goal and got on with networking. Today, I network once or twice a week and am able to make relevant connections 75% of the time. I would like to share with you how I got on to achieve those results.

  1. Define Your Ultimate Goal

What is your motivation to network? How important is this to you? Who else will benefit if you are able to network effectively? These are the things that would help you make progress and enjoy networking. Anything that you enjoy doing will undoubtedly bring good results and you would be able to do it over the long term.

  1. Taking Baby Steps

London gives you endless opportunities for meeting new people. Meetup.com is a place where new groups and events are being created. A diverse range of subjects are covered: photography, culture, therapies, business etc. Some of these events are free and it allows you to go and explore. Pace Yourself. Choose to go to an event with no expectations and see what it feels like, how did it go and whether you have had any positive experience. To make it easier, choose one where the size of the audience is not going to be overwhelming. Other networking groups are BNI, Sterling Business Network, London Chamber of Commerce, etc.

  1. Choose events on subjects that you enjoy

I am not a great sportsperson. So, attending a sports event is not my thing. I enjoy going to a writers’ club or going to listen to an inspirational talk. I am going not only to meet people but also to learn something new. So, in case I don’t make any useful connections – it does not matter. I would leave with a few golden nuggets.

  1. Review And Change Strategy

Every few weeks, review and make a list of the things you like and those that you don’t. One of the good things being an introvert, we are self-sufficient as we tend to look inwards rather than outwards. Strategies are about changing our behaviours and attitudes.  Your behaviour is changed when you modify your beliefs. Whatever you don’t like – decide what you would like instead. Then, list options about how to go about.

  1. Trial and Error

There is no deadline about getting the results you are aiming for. Strategies are meant to evolve over time and with priorities changing, your strategies would need to adapt to the current situation. Flexibility is important when people are involved. You can only control your behaviour, your beliefs. Believing that you can control other people’s attitudes is a myth!. Faking your attitude is also a no go.  It does not help when you are trying to reach out to like minded individuals… you end up with the wrong crowd!

  1. You Are Not Alone

Being an introvert, you don’t shout at the top of the roof, who you are… You tend to make your way discretely. Yet, there are many of you who have overcome similar challenges and found their place. Susan Cain delivered an inspirational TED talk a few years ago about the power of introverts. Following her talk, she recently set up a community for Introverts: Quiet Revolution. There are many testimonials of introverts having achieved their goals such as public speaking, successful business owners..

  1. Networking Is About Listening

Networking is neither about collecting business cards nor about the ones who stands out. It is about creating connections that would be playing a role in your career, business or even in your personal life. Some of the people I met at networking events happen to be my friends, mentor and people I aspire to be. For you to make the relevant connections, use one of the main strengths of an introvert – be an empathetic listener. Making small talk and learn to know more about the people you meet comes quite easy when you are genuinely listening and not listening to reply.

  1. Do One To One Meetings

When you feel good about someone, don’t hesitate to ask to meet for a coffee. You will be surprised at how much you may have in common with the person. Trust your guts. Your guts instincts work when you are true to yourself and be accepting of you are.

  1. Take Time Out

Introverts need their own breathing space and time alone. This is how you recharge your batteries. Schedule quiet time for yourself on a regular basis even if it means that you don’t meet anyone for a day or two. Your “me” time actually helps to access your personal creativity and come up with new ideas, new options and renewed enthusiasm. Being is as important as Doing for Introverts.

Today, when I tell the people that I am an introvert – they are surprised. I have learnt to be at ease talking to strangers, doing public talks and training groups of people.  It has taken me a while to learn to use my introverted personality to my advantage when I am networking.  .  Networking is not only for sales people and are not for extroverts only. It can be fun and fulfilling when you learn to harness your personality to create your tribe and grow your network!

Se Loger à Londres: Quelques Conseils

Londres est une des villes les plus recherchées en matière de logement. Y habiter et s’établir pour quelque temps demandent beaucoup de persévérance et une bonne dose d’attitude positive. Trouver le bon logement à un prix raisonnable ressort de beaucoup d’efforts de recherches et une bonne connaissance du marché.

Cette grande ville est divisée en plusieurs zones (zones 1 à 6). Des quartiers au centre de Londres, comme le Piccadilly Circus et Victoria, sont des endroits très recherchés et donc plus chers. Brockley, Crystal Palace, Harrow et autres endroits en (zone 3 à 6) sont moins chers. Vous aurez des appartements beaucoup plus grands mais il vous faudra dépenser plus de temps dans les transports en communs.

Plusieurs solutions s’offrent à vous :

A votre arrivée, il sera plus aisé de réserver dans un premier temps une chambre dans un “Bed & Breakfast” ou dans des auberges de jeunesse. Cela vous donnera ainsi le temps d’explorer certains endroits avant de vous décider ou chercher votre logement.

Une solution peu onéreuse est le “Houseshare” où vous logeriez chez l’habitant. Certaines ONG recherchent des personnes qui pourront loger avec des personnes âgées pour un loyer modeste. Vous aurez la charge d’aider le propriétaire dans les tâches quotidiennes et leur tenir compagnie. Certains propriétaires louent aussi des chambres chez eux. Vous serez donc un “lodger”.  Dans ce cas, il y aurait certaines règles à respecter tel que les heures ou vous auriez accès à la cuisine et si vous avez le droit d’inviter des amis.

Vivre en colocation dans des appartements ou dans des maisons avec d’autres personnes est une autre option à considérer (House of Multiple Occupancy – HMO). Vous aurez probablement votre propre chambre avec votre propre salle de bain et aux autres parties communes telle que la cuisine, la salle à manger et probablement la buanderie.  Il est important de rencontrer vos colocataires pour avoir une idée si vous allez vous y plaire et de connaître les règles de communauté telles que le droit d’inviter vos amis et le nettoyage des parties communes.  Certaines colocations proposent un loyer intégrant les charges (factures d’électricité, d’eau et de gaz communément appelé « bills »). Dans ce cas, vous n’aurez en général pas à payer le “Council Tax”, les impôts locaux.

Si vous louez un appartement ou une maison seu(e), vous aurez à payer les impôts locaux «  Council Tax » et probablement votre loyer exclura les charges. Pour vérifier le montant à payer pour « le Council Tax », vous pourriez appeler le Council (municipalité) concerné. Ils vous poseront quelques questions telles que le code postal et le nombre de personnes habitant dans l’appartement afin de calculer le montant annuel à payer. Vous aurez le choix de payer ce montant en 12 mensualités si vous le souhaiteriez.

Le jargon immobilier est différent de celui en France. Ainsi, un « one-bedroom flat » est une deux pièces (salon et 1 chambre), un « two-bedroom » flat est un trois pièces et ainsi de suite. Un « split level apartment » est un appartement sur deux niveaux avec les chambres à coucher au niveau supérieur.

Quelque soit la solution que vous auriez trouvée, il convient d’avoir en tête quelques connaissances sur le marché immobilier londonien et les règles à respecter.

Vous aurez à prévoir de payer une caution (« deposit ») dont le montant est de 6 semaines de loyer et aussi les frais d’administration si le logement que vous avez choisi est géré par un agent immobilier. Certains documents vous seront demandés par le propriétaire ou l’agent immobilier: contrat de travail, feuilles de salaire, visa.

C’est important de lire votre bail au cas où certains aspects tel que la maintenance ne sont pas inclue. Toute caution doit etre enregistree dans un tenancy deposit scheme qui garantit votre caution. Tout bail doit être une durée minimum de 9 mois. Vous avez le droit de demander un “break clause”, soit une rupture de bail, après six mois. Cela vous donnera plus de flexibilité si vous auriez trouvé un meilleur logement plus tard. Un garant sera nécessaire si vous venez d’arriver à Londres et vous n’avez donc pas de feuilles de salaire pour les 3 dernier mois. Vous pourriez aussi négocier pour payer votre loyer six mois à l’avance dans le cas que vous ne trouvez pas de garant. Certaines agences acceptent cette option.

Le “EPC” (Energy Performance Certificate) de chaque logement est noté. La loi exige qu’un logement à louer doit avoir un EPC minimum de E. L’indicateur EPC vous donnera une idée de la facture de gaz ou d’électricité à prévoir pour le chauffage. A titre de comparaison, un indicateur B indique que vos charges en matière de consommation d’énergie seront moindres comparés à celles d’un indicateur E. Exemple :  un appartement deux pièces avec l’indicateur B aura £50 de charges mensuelles pour le chauffage et l’électricité en hiver. Ceci est considéré comme très économique.

Les moyens de transports, les commerces avoisinants sont des critères à ne pas négliger lorsque vous choisissez les endroits où vous aimeriez habiter. Sur Rightmove, Zoopla, Spareroom, vous aurez une idée du montant du loyer pour les différentes zones londoniennes. Un appartement de deux pieces se loue à £1,000 dans la zone 5 et le même appartement se louera à £2,000 dans la zone 3.

Certains endroits tel que Surbiton, Milton Keynes sont desservis par des trains directs à destination de Londres sans s’arrêter aux gares intermédiaires. Les loyers y sont moins chers et vous aurez l’occasion de découvrir “Greater London” – des endroits à la périphérie de Londres.

Le mieux est votre réseau à Londres. Si vous avez des amis ou des collègues à Londres, alors profitez-en, demandez-leur conseils. Si vous y plaisez dans votre logement, entretenez une bonne relation de confiance avec votre propriétaire qui pourra se montrer plus coopératif pour la maintenance et autres petits soucis que vous auriez avec l’appartement.

Finding Your Home in Mauritius

Renting a property is usually the most preferred option when you first land into a foreign country. You would want to experience living on the island and ensure that you have made the right choice of career and destination. The island is relatively small so that you can travel from one end to the other end in a single day. In terms of location, there is, therefore, a wide variety of choices. With heavy traffic at peak hours in the morning and late afternoon, you would prefer to live closer to work. Some companies are now based outside Port Louis, the capital city. There is a number of business hubs located in Grand Bay (north), Tamarin (west) and Moka (center).  If you are able to set up your office in those business hubs, life on the island would be more enjoyable!.

Most expats would live in the coastal regions.  Not only would they have direct access to the sea, they would also be able to enjoy the night life that prevails in those areas. Mauritius has the wonderful advantage that most of its coastline is good for swimming and snorkelling. Only the south part is not great for swimming but a great place for surfing. The centre of the island such as Quatre Bornes, Moka also attract a number of expats as these places are cooler and less humid compared to the rest of the island.

Schools with international baccalaureate curriculum or with the French curriculum are available. They are all private schools and are found in the North or in the centre of the island. There are school buses available in case you don’t have time to do the school runs. They are run mainly by individuals who would then charge a monthly fee.

Foreign ownership of properties in Mauritius is also allowed in some specific locations designated as Real Estate Scheme (RES) or Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). There are certain requirements for foreigners to buy properties and the Board of Investment of Mauritius latest guideline can be found here.

As is the case in the UK, a deposit is required when you move in. It is usually one month to three months rental. There is no guaranteed deposit scheme.  So, the refund of the deposit when you leave would rely mainly on the goodwill of the landlord. In terms of maintenance issues, it is advisable that these are spelt out in the rental agreement at the start. Building great rapport with your landlord ensures that your tenancy takes place smoothly.

A number of landlords prefer to manage their own buy to lets. They will advertise online or through their local network (word of mouth). There are several online portals. L’express property is the most well-known. Templates for the lease agreement are available on the website as well as other useful tips such as having pets with you when you rent a property. Most well established estate agents have their own websites: Park Lane Properties, Pam Golding, Seeff Properties etc.

Local estate agents do not require to undergo any professional training.  A number of them are SME’s with teams of 1-3 people or are self employed. They tend to specialise by region. Estate agent fees are not regulated and tend to vary depending on the location. It is recommended that you ask to meet the landlord so as to ensure that you are both on the same wavelength before you make your final choice. Also, asking for an ID on your first meeting with the estate agent is important. Mauritian IDs are now biometric and are standardised. So, this would help you to know whether you are dealing with the right person.

I have been surprised to note that there are a number of Mauritian properties advertised on Zoopla and Rightmove.  Most of them would be considered as high end as you would have your own swimming pool and provides access to a restaurant and spa facilities. They are mainly located on the coastal areas with sea view fronts for some of them. One bed property is not as popular as it is in the UK. Most locals live in an extended family: parents, children and grand children in two units, side by side or a large house converted into two maisonettes with the grandparents living in the ground floor maisonette. A number of young single professionals are now starting to leave their parents’ home to live on their own. As this trend continues on in the future, one bed property would become more readily available.

Finding Your Home In Dar Es Salaam

  1. Word Of Mouth And Referral Works Best.

Ownership of properties in Tanzania is restricted to holders of the Tanzanian passport or to companies locally registered in the country. All foreigners are expected to rent their accommodation. The private rental market relies mainly on word of mouth and referrals. Properties are advertised online or in the newspapers. However, there is no dedicated portal such as Rightmove, Zoopla as is the case in the UK. There are a number of estate agents operating but there are no standard rules such as the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in the UK.  In the UK, an estate agent needs to ensure that its employees have undergone a number of certified training. This is not the case in Dar.

  1. Location: accessibility to office – to be considered

Most landlords in Dar Es Salaam have a portfolio of properties scattered in various locations: Oyster Bay, City Centre, Masaki, Mikocheni etc. Choosing your location is mainly about accessibility to your office. As in many big cities, traffic jam is problematic and it can take 1-2 hours to drive a distance that usually takes 15-30 minutes when the roads are clear. This is even more challenging during the rainy season as the shortcuts that you could take to reach your destination can no longer be used.

Most expats love to stay in Masaki or in Oyster Bay because of the various restaurants, supermarkets and other facilities available in this area. However, rents are quite high as most people once they move in in a place, they tend to stay until it is time to go home. So, supply outstrips demand. Upanga which is the city centre is great if you want to avoid traffic jams. However, in terms of social life, it is quite limited.

Most roads in Dar Es Salaam are tarred. However, access to certain new developments is mainly through dirt roads. In the rainy season, access to those developments may be tricky if you do not have an SUV or a 4 by 4. It is recommended that you check as to how the landscape can change with local weather conditions. Even in areas where roads are tarred and because the drainage was not properly done, the level of water on the roads can rise rapidly making it difficult to drive.

  1. Rent Paid In Advance Before Move In.

Renting a property requires you to pay 6 months – 12 months rent in advance. Tenant referencing and credit check is not mandatory. This is a deal breaker for most landlords. Some major corporations can negotiate more favourable terms especially if they are looking for a number of properties for their overseas staff. Cash transactions are quite common and bank transfers are the next best means of payment favoured by landlords.

  1. Utilities Bill Can Skyrocket.

Electricity and water is rarely included in the rent. Electricity (LUKU) is pre paid and you can buy your monthly credit in advance at any gas station or in some shops. As power generation has still not yet caught up with the local demand, generators are regularly used to provide electricity for the whole building. The splitting of the bill amongst the residents is not scientific as there is no way of measuring how much power each household has consumed. It is recommended to discuss this with the landlord before you make up your mind.

  1. Maintenance and Other Facilities

Most apartments are in a gated community with security guards at the entrance. This is mainly to discourage local people to go in to sell their products or ask for work without being invited. Most landlords have a team who can help with small maintenance issues such as tap leaks, broken door handles etc. They can also provide other services such as replacement of LPG containers used for cooking, maid cleaning etc for an extra fee.

  1. Landlord Obligations

Tanzanian legislation is less strict than that of the UK. Requirements such as gas certificates, PAT Testing, building insurance are not compulsory. Fire exits and fire drills are also not well implemented in most buildings. New apartments have the advantage that all lifts are running properly. Over time, when the lifts are broken, they are not repaired immediately. It is suggested that you choose apartments that are easily accessible by stairs in case the lifts get broken.