Working away from home can be hard if you are a parent. We all try to achieve the work-life balance, but it can be difficult to juggle a demanding job that requires you to be away from the family you love so much and your responsibilities at home. Not to mention any guilt you may feel from spending time apart from your children. If you are in that position, read on and find out some tips as to how to make working away from home more manageable for you.
Be as Productive as Possible in Working Hours
To reduce any additional work time out-with hours, make sure you are as productive as possible when you are at the office. When you are experiencing a particularly busy period – it can be difficult to avoid the temptation to not take a break. You might think you will get more done, but in actual fact you won’t work as well and will end up burned out. If you have a regular break this will improve your mood and have you feeling refreshed when you get back to it. You should also resist the temptation to tackle one task at a time – and to not try and complete a few on one go.
It’s also a good idea to order your tasks in terms of priority, that way if you don’t manage to get everything complete – you can still tear yourself away and spend some time with the family. Make sure you schedule in the biggest tasks when you are most alert during the day and set small goals to motivate you to carry on as you check them off your list.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
If you are over-stretched and asked to take on additional tasks or meetings, don’t be afraid to say no. We all have to work out-with our scope of work from time to time, but if it begins to affect our work-life balance – then it’s time to get a bit more assertive.
If you are declining to take on a task, make sure that you give your boss a valid reason, and perhaps offer an alternative solution. Feel free to also give them a reminder as to what you currently have on so they know you are being reasonable. If it is a good opportunity, make sure that you show your gratitude – and you can even help them find someone else to do it who would suit that task.
Try and Schedule Well in Advance
Sometimes last-minute meetings happen in work, and there’s no getting away from it – but wherever possible, try and plan any travel plans you have well in advance. That way you can ensure that you have scheduled in time with your family – knowing that there is a trip on the horizon.
Should it be an impromptu trip away, see if there is the option to clear up your schedule a day or 2 before you need to go away, or upon your return.
Make your Travel Plans as Convenient as Possible
Little things that you don’t think about when travelling take time. Whether it be waiting for taxis when you arrive at the airport or standing at baggage claim forever waiting for your luggage to come out – all of these things add up and can take time away from you getting home to your beloved family.
There are simple measures to minimise the time and make the experience a little less stressful for you so you are in a better frame of mind when you get home. For example, if you pack strategically – it could be that you only need to allow for hand luggage. Nobody likes waiting for their items for ages when they land at an airport – by that time everyone wants to get home.
Instead of taking public transport or a taxi to the airport, you may also want to think about driving your car. Birmingham airport parking is incredibly convenient and is definitely the quickest option if you are looking to get home straight away. Parking at Birmingham airport can be booked well in advance, so you know you have a spot secured. At sites such as https://www.birminghamparking.com/ all you need to do is select the drop off and collection times, and then select from various options. There is something to suit all budgets and requirements.
Consider Home Working
Home working is also a possible option. It means you don’t need to worry about commute times, and even if there is a lot of travelling is involved – you will have a lot more time with your family to make up for it. Businesses are modernising these days, making it a very possible option if you pitch it in the right way to your boss.
This also relates back to what we were saying about productivity earlier. It can be argued that remote workers are more productive than in-office workers. If you are at home, and you have your own secluded workspace – there are less distractions than there are in the office with noise and general interruptions. It is also known to reduce stress-levels which could result in less sick days.
If your boss isn’t 100% sold on the working from home idea, they may consider flexible working where you can change the hours that you work. There are lots of options that you could take advantage of such as choosing a better work schedule to fit in with school and childcare arrangements – to working compressed hours, so you would work your normal amount of hours but across fewer days.
Job sharing is also an option. This means that not only can you share some of the hours you work, but potentially then share the amount of travelling time too. The only negative with this, is that you then would most likely expect a different salary – so you need to make sure that you are financially secure before going down this road. You can make both statutory and non-statutory requests to your boss.
Use it as a Landmark Date
Instead of it being a negative thing that you are going travelling, the date of your return could be a landmark date where you and the family can look forward to something nice. If you have specific dates scheduled in for business trips, make sure that there are then some family activities in place directly after. This gives you and the kids something to look forward to. It also means they will be less focused on your absence within that time period and thinking more about what happens when you get back.
Make sure that you communicate with the kids the dates you will be away so it’s not a shock to them – and they know to expect it.
If a heavy workload and a lot of time travelling comes part and parcel with your job role – then make sure that you put things place to make it a little easier on everyone. As with everything, planning is of the essence.