Managing your work-life balance can be tricky at the best of times, but it becomes even harder when you’re in a job that requires regular travel. The pressure of juggling the competing responsibilities of work and home can be immense, often leading to a situation where health and wellbeing take a back seat. Managing work-life balance in a job requiring travel can seem an impossible ask.
The Reality of Work Travel
When travelling for work, any semblance of routine goes out the window. Time is carefully scheduled to make the most of every opportunity to meet and network. Wellbeing activities tend to fall by the wayside as the need to work longer hours takes precedence. For many, it’s hard to sit back and relax when you’re being paid to travel for work, which makes the situation worse.
Back home, the lack of certainty, disrupted routines and ongoing absences as a result of work travel make it difficult to commit to regular wellbeing activities. Moreover, the natural guilt of being absent from family often results in wellbeing being put to the bottom of the list, further adding to this imbalance.
With so many pressures in play, it’s easy to give up on the idea of finding work-life balance when travelling for work. However, there are strategies you can use to maintain your wellbeing and better manage your work-life balance both on the road and back home with family.
7 Strategies for Managing Work-Life Balance & Work Travel
Open Communication at Work
If your travel obligations are taking a toll on you or your home life, be honest with your manager. Eventually this stress could affect your wellbeing and your work performance, leading to consequences on both sides. Establish open communication with your manager from the start to avoid future issues and improve your chance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Honest Communication at Home
Being away for work impacts both your home life and general wellbeing. It’s vital to be honest with your partner, family and friends to manage responsibilities while you’re away. It’s also important to work together to find ways to divide responsibilities when you’re at home. It’s tempting to try to make up for your absence but don’t do this at the cost of your wellbeing.
Take Leave Before or After Your Work Trip
Taking leave before or after your work trip can be a great way to recalibrate. This gives you the opportunity to spend time with loved ones before you head off or can be an ideal way to rest and recover on your return. Taking time out for yourself, on either side of the work trip, allows you to find some much needed work-life balance when you need it most.
Establish a Routine
It’s not easy to create a routine when travelling, but it’s the best way to build wellbeing into your life. Getting up early for a morning walk or leisurely breakfast may not be difficult to implement if you’re used to getting up early for flights. Making time in your daily schedule for meditation, yoga, reading or other activities you enjoy will also help maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Don’t Overschedule Your Trip
Work trips are often a whirlwind of meetings and networking events, in between tending to business as usual. It’s natural to want to make the most of every opportunity to connect but don’t fall into the trap of overscheduling yourself. Develop a loose schedule before you leave, being careful to set aside time for yourself to maintain your wellbeing.
Delegate (both at home and at work)
Being continually out of routine both at work and home can affect your productivity, confidence and sense of wellbeing. To keep on top of all areas of your life, start delegating. At work, concentrate on the important tasks and delegate everything else, especially when you’re travelling. At home, get help with household tasks (like mowing and cleaning) to lessen the load.
If your role consists of regular travel, there’s no point waiting for the “right” time to start prioritising wellbeing as it will never arrive. Commit to prioritising your wellbeing on your next business trip, such as taking a walk or indulging in a sleep in. Back at home, look at ways you can look after your own needs in between trips to start prioritising your own wellbeing.
Are you struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance in a job that requires travel? Hunterlink’s range of workshops and training can provide the help you need to make positive changes in your life. Contact the team at Hunterlink to discuss how we can help improve your health and wellbeing, both at work and at home.