How to manage the burn-out of an expat employee?

How to manage the burn-out of an expat employee?

10 April 2023 Corporate

90% of expatriates indicate that they are overall stressed, compared to 77% of people living in their home country. This is the result of a study conducted in 2022. According to these same expats, burn-out is the main cause of stress (98%). As a manager, it is essential to be concerned about the well-being of expat employees. Let’s dive deeper into the causes of burn-out.

How to define Burn-Out?

You don’t feel the same commitment and enthusiasm from your employee anymore? He or she may be a victim of burn-out. As opposed to bore-out, which translates the lack of meaning or occupation at work, employee burn-out is the physical, emotional and mental exhaustion linked to an over-investment in work or an overload of tasks. From one-time stress to prolonged habit, burn-out is classified as of 2019 by the WHO as resulting from chronic stress in the workplace that has not been successfully managed.


The health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and the social disconnection it caused did not improve the psychological well-being of expats. The isolation due to the lockdown, the stress related to the contamination of oneself and one’s relatives, and the instability of the job or even the loss of it have accentuated these psychological difficulties of the expat.

Similarly, the return to work and the overabundance of communication (emails, WhatsApp, phone, meetings) have not worked in favor of relaxation. Hence the development of quiet quitting, a movement in which employees make as little effort as possible with little enthusiasm with the banner “work up to your pay grade”.

Expatriation and burn-out, what are the first signs?

How to spot that your expat employee is in burn-out? Often silent and kept to oneself, burn-out is nevertheless characterized by a few signs :

  • fatigue: work-related stress can manifest itself as physical and mental fatigue;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • procrastination;
  • a lack of motivation and drive;
  • aches and pains including frequent headaches;
  • a lack of hunger
  • Irritability, anger with co-workers or clients: accumulated fatigue can exacerbate these feelings.

On the side of the expat employee in burn-out, the causes can mix professional and personal life. The poor balance between the two, the overload of work, the powerlessness in the face of professional situations or the lack of control over work are frequent causes of burn-out syndrome. For the expat, the lack of family and friends, the feeling of loneliness and the breaking of his habits with his past life are added to these elements.

How to support an employee in burn-out?

After having identified the main causes of burn-out for the expat worker, you, as a manager, must manage the crisis. From the support during the relocation to the arrival on the job, the employee must feel the least alone as possible. To support the employee, you can:

  • adopt a positive management by reconciling human and performance through empathy, recognition and encouragement ;
  • alleviating the amount of work on overworked expat employees in particular by ensuring the respect of the right to disconnect, the taking of leaves by the employees and by defining achievable objectives.
  • motivating employees with interviews and giving them your feedback frequently and sincerely ;
  • raising awareness of burn out and offering confidential and privileged spaces for discussion with each of your employees.
  • Rewarding the quality and quantity of the work provided through monetary recognition, benefits or schedule adjustments.

Foyer Global Health, your insurer anywhere in the world

Foyer Global Health is the specialized expatriation branch of the leading insurance company in Luxembourg, Foyer Group. Our coverage is the result of decades of experience with clients in every country in the world. Compare our international health insurance for expats and find yours.

Simple products, huge benefits

We provide great health insurance products based on hundreds of clients’ feedback to make sure you always get reassurance from us that we insure you the best way possible.
Get a quote, with actionable options perfectly matching your needs.