Balancing Business Travel & Family
Do you travel often for business? Those who do know one thing: striking a balance between business and home life can be tricky. If you have a family, it can be even tougher to find a way to keep the relationship ties strong when you have to be in another part of the country—or another part of the world—much of the time.
There are many benefits for those who travel often for their job. As long as you find a way to make a few extra efforts in your relationships, there’s no reason why your entire family can’t reap those benefits. In order to keep it all together, consider some important advice and tips from those who have done it all and lived to tell the tale.
Before you head out on the next business trip (and every trip thereafter) do a little be of pre-travel planning and connections.
- Talk about the dates when you’ll be gone. Let everyone know when you’re leaving and when you’ll return. Plug important things that you’ll miss while you’re away into your personal calendar so you can call, text, or give a shout out. Mark the dates that you’ll be gone on a family calendar that everyone has access to so everyone can get a visual timetable.
- Set aside personal time with each child, and your spouse, to do something special. Go for ice cream, take a trip to the local zoo, or plan a date-night. Your attention should be focused on them throughout the event; that’s what makes it quality time.
- Be sure that everyone knows that you’re leaving and talk about feelings. If your child has anxiety about your trip, you might be tempted to avoid talking about it; but don’t. The more you discuss the trip, listen to their fears, tell them that you understand, and try to comfort them, the better they’ll react.
When you leave, the real feelings of separation might kick in. Put the extra effort into managing the relationships long-distance and you’ll find that it’s worth the extra hour of missed sleep in your hotel.
- Stick to a routine. Whenever you travel, try to stick with the same airline or hotel chain if possible so that you know what you’re getting when you get there. For example, you’ll know that the Wi-Fi is always good and the beds are comfortable. Plus, your family will think of you and have a basic idea of where you are (i.e. at the Hilton) even if it isn’t the same Hilton every time. This brings a sense of comfort to everyone.
- Make sure that contact occurs daily. It might be difficult to pinpoint a time if you’re a few time zones away, but making the plan to talk on the phone or FaceTime with each other can ease the feelings of distance. Plan at bedtime, after dinner, or even at breakfast; whatever time can accommodate you all.
- Take advantage of text and email. Send your spouse or kids a text as if you were in the same city. Snap a pic of something unique and pass it along. Ask them if they saw that big game on TV, remind them that it’s the cat’s birthday; anything that’s pretty much ordinary will keep them in tune with you.
In order to succeed in anything you do in life, you need to put in hard work and dedication. When it comes to your career, if travel is a part of it, that means packing up and flying out whenever your company needs you. But in order to have successful relationships, you need to put in just as much hard work and dedication to keep things running smoothly. Not every relationship is perfect, nor is every job, but keeping them both healthy will yield you many rewards.
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