The disadvantages of travelling for work (and how to overcome them)
If you’re leading a team of regional contractors, or you have a team of merchandisers across the country, it’s likely they you’re already familiar with the disadvantages they face when travelling for work.
Being away from home comforts – from your family and friends to your own bed – can be tough, but there are actions you can take to make life easier for team members who are regularly on the road.
Technology has made life a lot easier, especially in terms of communication, but it is still possible for remote employees to feel isolated and detached from the company’s goings.
If your team is starting to feel the disadvantages of travelling for work weighing on them, here are some ideas to remedy the situation.
Look into perks that all staff can enjoy
Talk to your HR team about staff perks, and how they can be extended to members of the team who work remotely or travel frequently.
Does your company offer paid-for gym memberships? Make sure it’s with a gym that has branches across the whole area you serve and not just where you’re headquartered. Aim for discounts at restaurants with plenty of outlets too.
It’s important that your staff feel that they are being treated the same, and that missing out on perks isn’t one of the disadvantages of travelling for work.
Invest in an Employee Assistance Programme that can be accessed remotely
Employees who are feeling the disadvantages of travelling for work may be at risk of stress-related illness, anxiety and even depression. It’s easy to accidentally slip into an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ point of view when you don’t see your remote employees regularly, but employers need to be mindful of their duty of care to their staff.
Most Employee Assistance Programmes offer a variety of wellness and mental health supports that can be accessed online, over the phone, and in person. Make sure that this is available to your team, and remind them regularly that the facility is there if they need it.
Looking to build out a wellness programme for your company? Check out our guide on the impact of wellness on the businesses bottom line.
Have a virtual office party
Once a month, choose a theme – Mexican food, pizza, or maybe even champagne if everyone has been exceeding their targets – and arrange for a delivery to each of your remote employees at roughly the same time.
Then have everyone log on to Skype, Zoom or whatever video conferencing tool you use and let everyone catch up. This shouldn’t be a formal meeting – it should be fun and laid-back, and can even incorporate games.
One of the disadvantages of travelling a lot for work is that you miss out on the social aspect of office life. A virtual party isn’t exactly like going for drinks at a bar together on a Thursday, but it’s an opportunity to socialise and catch up on some lighthearted banter. Plus, getting a treat delivered to your staff is one way to make sure they know they’re appreciated.
Don’t skip weekly one to ones
We’re all busy, so unless there is something specific to discuss, it can be tempting to skip the weekly calls you’ve got scheduled in the diary – but don’t. Log on, even just for a few minutes, to catch up with your remote workers and stay abreast of any concerns.
Sometimes things that don’t seem important enough to warrant an email – or that for one reason or another your colleague would rather not write in an email – will come up.
Encourage your staff to take a break
If you can see that a team member is starting to feel weary, see if you can juggle things so that they don’t have to travel for a couple of weeks. If possible, let them work from home (if it's possible with their role) to make up for the time they missed when they’re travelling.
And make sure your team take their annual leave; your most dedicated staff might feel shy about asking for some time off – let them know that their leave is there to be taken and that you’d rather they take it and come back rested and refreshed than running themselves into the ground.
Technology has a part to play in ensuring our travelling colleagues feel less isolated, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
It’s crucial that your remote team and those who travel frequently know they are just as valued as those who are in HQ every day. Go the extra mile to make sure they feel listened to, understood and appreciated.