Managing Your Wellbeing On Work Travel
Work travel is a double-edged sword, with perils and privileges in equal measure. On the one hand, it’s fun to visit new locations, live in hotels and have mealtimes taken care of. On the other, you can find yourself working longer hours, missing your family and not putting your personal wellbeing first. If this sounds familiar, then read on.
Understanding the pressures of working away from home, business travel experts Roomex have put together a helpful guide on managing wellbeing on work travel. Whether you’ve been on the road all day, or working lengthy hours on site, here’s seven key areas for consideration, when you’re on the road…
Break up the journey
Driving is a pretty common requirement for work travel, often requiring long stretches of road for regional managers and site workers. If you’re travelling for more than two hours by car, it’s important to have a 15-minute break as advised by the Highway Code. This will help break up the journey, allowing you to stay refreshed and focused.
If at any point you start to feel sleepy, immediately open a window for some fresh air and find a safe place to pull in to rest. Although there’s no compensation for sleep, some research indicates that a can of Red Bull can help reduce fatigue during long-distance journeys.
Share your status
If you’re away on work travel for any length of time, it’s wise to share your whereabouts with a colleague. This includes your address, phone number and where you will be day-to-day. It’s part of a company’s duty of care to ensure that you are looked after at all times, whether you’re office based or not. Being able to contact you and know your whereabouts is an important part of managing your welfare.
A well-balanced diet
Actors often joke about putting on weight while on set, eating badly due to onsite catering. The same is true for site workers too.
While it’s sometimes unavoidable to succumb to provided catering, it’s not your only option. If you’re on work travel for more than a few days, it may be a good idea to stay somewhere with self-catering, allowing you to bring a packed lunch or rustle up a well-balanced dinner in the evening. Aim to have at least one healthy meal a day, for instance a high-fibre breakfast with plenty of fresh fruit.
All work and no play
One of the downsides of being away on business, is the focus on work. It’s a common complaint that site workers often exceed the recommended 39-hours a week, when away on business. It’s not a surprise with unsociable hours and few other distractions being away from home.
However, it’s imperative to your wellbeing that you try and find a balance. You might want to set a morning or evening routine that involves exercise. Alternatively, give yourself a strict set of hours to work, so that you keep track of how much time you’re dedicating to work.
It’s easy to neglect your physical health when you’re away on business. That’s why exercise is a great routine to get into. It forces you to take time out which in turn may help achieve a better work-life balance. There’s plenty of gyms around the UK that offer affordable day-passes. But even a brisk stroll or jog is a great way to reach your 10,000 steps a day. According to research even a 15-minute walk can help clear your mind.
Zzzzz you later
Sleep - we all need it and so many of us aren’t getting enough of it. And it’s even worse for those on work travel, who report disrupted sleep due to their new surroundings.
If you’re not getting between 7 and 9 hours of shut-eye a night, it’s time to take stock. There’s a few things you can do to ensure your hotel room is more conducive to rest. For starters, look at the temperature of the room. This can play an important part of your comfort. Aim for 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit for the optimal temperature.
Secondly, make your environment soothing to be in. Pack your clothes away, declutter any mess, use dim lighting to create a restful environment. Some frequent travellers even swear by lavender oil and an eye mask to help them nod off.
Air your problems
As we all know, wellbeing extends to mental health as much as physical. Thankfully, employers are starting to understand the importance of this. As part of their duty of care, it’s likely that your employer will have a system in place where you can talk through your concerns with someone in confidence.
If in doubt, consult your employee handbook, or speak to HR.
It’s important that colleagues feel empowered to talk about their issues and air them in a way that is addressed and listened to. When you’re away on work travel, there should be a forum or line manager who you can chat to as well.
It’s in your company’s best interests to look after your wellbeing on business. In doing so, they can expect a more productive, happy and dedicated workforce.