Working Families: Travelling for Business
For many working parents, commuting to work is a common occurrence and can take up to an hour however for others, work can involve travelling long distances. As organisations and employers become more global, work travel is a regular occurrence. It can be very positive and exciting, with lots of new places to visit but it can also be challenging to maintain a work/life balance when you’re a parent or carer.
Work travel can present unique caring challenges but preparation can help to transform these challenges into good experiences and rewarding opportunities. It is also important for your personal wellbeing to spend some time thinking through why it’s important for you to travel and what the potential benefits are to you and your family.
The more you can prepare prior to travelling, the fewer the challenges that will arises when trying to balance your work and family life.
Preparing Your Family for your Business Trip
Make sure your family is aware of your travelling arrangements and what is happening.
Create a calendar with your family, which details your travel plans. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time, including any activities and plans which may need to be scheduled.
Spend time with your family before departing.
Make time before you travel to spend with your family. This may be sharing a special moment or going for a day out.
Engage in discussions about your work and travel, share feelings and develop emotional intelligence.
Although it may be difficult (with the potential of a few tears!) try to talk about your trip and allow your family to share their feelings. Communication is a key component, especially with children, and they will notice your reassuring and comfortable tone, which will contribute to communication development, attachment and trust.
Staying Connected during Work Travel
Reading with our children
is a fantastic experience and helps children to make a connection between the spoken and written words, a crucial reading readiness skill. Reading over the phone or by video call can help you stay connected. Buying two copies of the same book and reading together, or recording yourself reading, are very simple ideas to help you.
Sharing photos of special moments throughout the day are great ways to stay connected – for both you and your family!
If you have access to the internet, video calls are perfect! You can talk, sing, dance and keep up to date with your family’s activities and plans for the day.
Leaving notes under pillows or in lunchboxes is a lovely way to keep in touch, with a special message each day to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Collect or send postcards from your different destinations to share with your family.
Talking over the phone can be challenging so try to engage in open discussions with your family about their day, such as ‘what was the best part of your day?’, ‘what did you talk about today?’.
With lots of preparation and a few simple strategies, travelling for work can be very manageable and even, a little bit of fun!