How to manage your work/life balance when away on business

Nothing messes with 'you time' more than business travel, but here are a few things you can do to maintain your work/life balance

When you work for an organisation with overseas interests it's likely you'll be sent on a business trip or two from time to time. And, depending on the size of your company, you could be spending lots of your life flying around the globe for conferences and international meetings.

Unfortunately, not everything can be handled over the phone or on FaceTime, and we haven't quite invented the holographic communication seen in some science fiction films, so a face to face meeting is necessary.

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Having to go abroad for your job can seem like that contracted nine-to-five has become 24/7 and has eaten into your personal time, which is why it is important to take some time for "you".

Whether it's staying in contact with the family, adding in some sightseeing or just unplugging from the internet and relaxing in a hotel, there are many options for professionals to address the work/life balance when travelling abroad for the job.

Take your family with you

It can be emotionally difficult to spend large amounts of time away from your loved ones, particularly if you have a young family, and many companies are looking for ways to offer a solution. It's worth enquiring with your boss if you can bring the family with you on your business trip, so you can spend your mornings and evenings with your spouse on a mini getaway.

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On the flip side, family life can be tiring and a few nights on your own in a foreign hotel could be a good chance to catch up on sleep.  

Add a few days to your trip

No matter what exciting location you are travelling to, it's often the case that your trip doesn't actually involve seeing any of the places you're visiting. Even if you're stuck in a conference centre for the majority of your trip, you can always add a few extra days onto the beginning or end of your trip just for you, allowing you to escape from work and explore different places you may not have visited otherwise.

Build in dedicated time to phone home

When you're in the thick of an event or conference, it can be difficult to find time to phone home and check in with family and friends. Any downtime you may have quickly becomes a chance to catch up on the day job or with your boss, but this can be detrimental to your state of mind overall. Make time in your schedule for phoning home, and don't forget to do it. 

Make the most of the journey

Just because you're spending half a day in the air or on another mode of transport it doesn't have to mean that time has to be written off. You can use the flight to do things you may not have time for back home, like reading or just watching a movie. Alternatively, that time can be used to get a head start on work so that you can relax once you get to your location. Don't waste it, as it's the perfect opportunity to get some time to yourself.

Maintain a routine

Things like eating well and exercise don't really mesh with business trips, but making the extra effort to keep looking after yourself while away can make the world of difference. If you usually exercise in the morning, scout out whether there's a gym in your hotel or somewhere nearby and, even if you have to eat out most lunchtimes and evenings, make choices that aren't going to stress out your digestive system.

Picture: Shutterstock

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