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March 22, 2011

Outsourced to India: Specific Conditions of Accommodations

When planning for your accommodation in India, here are a list of important questions to think about getting answers to. Answers to these questions vary widely on the city, it’s infrastructure, and available resources. No two situations will be the same. 

Electric (Current)
  • Do you have uninterrupted power supply?
  • How frequent, if at all are power cuts?
  • Do you need to bring power adapters with you?
  • Does the place you’re staying have a generator?
  • How can you find out about power cuts? (Sometimes only local newspapers written in the local script carry this information.)
Food, Meals, Drinking Water
  • Is there any food provided in the place you stay?
  • Where do you go for food?
  • Can you cook or warm food up there? Ask what specific gadgets are available.
  • If available to you, be specific in requesting things like stove, utensils, and microwave (microwaves are still not common in all parts of India).
  • Is there a water purifier or is it better to buy bottled water?
  • Is there already an internet option available where you are living?
  • If you need to arrange it, what are the local ISPs and what options are there for connections?
  • How long does it take to get these connections?
  • How will you arrange your work if your internet speed is not up to your comfort level?
  • How much do you rely on the internet for work or personal reasons?
  • Where would you be able to access the net from outside your residence if required?
  • Does your accommodation have a washing machine?  
  • If not, how does one arrange for laundry service?
  • Can you do your laundry and ironing on your own or must you have a washerman or a maid do it?
  • (Be aware that dryers like we have in America are not available or rare to find in India, clothes are dried outside in the sun.
Life and Social Factors
  • If you will be staying ad extended time (say a month or more), you may want to know about proximity to places like grocery stores, malls, social outlets available, and other daily life activities.
  • Number of people sponsored to stay in the housing.
  • If you are taking your spouse and/or children with you, assure the company’s accommodations will be suitable for the total number of people in your family and that the company will pay the bill for all members (some companies have policies to only pay for you as their business guest).
Others staying in the same accommodation
  • Will this accommodation be reserved only for you (and your family) or will others be staying there also?
  • If others are staying there, do you get your own room or have to share with someone else?
  • Can it be arranged to stay alone if that is your preference?
Phone Facilities
  • What kinds of phone facilities are there where you will be staying?
  • For the landline can you make calls as well as receive calls?
  • Can you adapt your mobile/cell phone to use in India?
Proximity to work
How close is your accommodation to work? 
Keep in mind commute times in India during rush hour may be longer than you are used to in the U.S. If it is possible, before moving to India, visit to locate your housing, rent a car (note: drivers come automatically with car rentals, self-driving rentals are rare) and go in between the house and work during different times of the day. Just keep in mind, that once you buy your own car in India, you may have to drive yourself, which is a totally different ball game!

Most buildings or housing complexes are gated in with a cement fence. The gate to this compound is watched by a watchman (security guard). If you expect others to visit you, you may give the names to the watchman or they will call up to you when the guests have arrive to confirm they have come to see you.

  • How will you get to and from work?
  • Will your company arrange a car and driver?
  • Is this car and driver available for other outings or only transportation to and from work?
  • Can the driver speak English? (Has the driver had much experience with foreigners?)
  • What restrictions are there for females coming to India? 
Water supply
Is there a 24-hour water supply?
Will you get hot water in your room? (In India bathrooms are fitted with a geyser, the concept of a centralized hot water heater is not popular. Some places store water on the top of the building and the sun heats it throughout the day.)

Weather (Climate)
Find out what is the typical dress code and pack appropriately for work and climate conditions.
Bring your favorite sun-tan lotion.
Are mosquitoes a problem in that area (bring mosquito repellent or buy it in India, a mosquito net for your bed may be required as well). 

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Are you coming to India on business from the U.S.? Contact Jennifer Kumar, an American who has been living in India since 2011 about your cross-cultural business questions. 

Copyright © 2011, Jennifer Kumar. All Rights Reserved. Do not reprint.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.