When the best opportunity to provide your family means you don’t get to see your family, it can be challenging, to say the least. However, traveling frequently for work doesn’t mean you don’t get to be as big of a part of your family’s life, and it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on quality time. In fact, with the right outlook, preparation, and planning, you can achieve the work-life balance you want so you can stay connected with your family.
Making the Most Out of Time at Home
Before we dive into how to stay connected when you’re traveling, let’s look at how you stay connected when you’re at home. After all, if you are on the road a lot, your family at home may have a routine that you feel like doesn’t include you, or they may have activities and events that you’re unfamiliar with.
- When you’re at home, be present. After work hours, leave your phone off, don’t worry about emails, and focus on spending time with your family.
- Positive co-parenting. It’s easy for you to want to be the “good guy,” and focus on being fun and easygoing, but that makes it harder on your partner when you go back on the road. Both parties need to communicate what’s been going on in the home, and the parent who is gone needs to support the home parent in their decisions and not undo them.
- Communicate your schedule. Let your family know not only the day you’ll be leaving and when you’ll be coming back, but also, what your schedule is like when you’re working (factoring in the time zone), so they know when they can talk to you and when you may not be available.
- Talk to your kids. They may not understand why you’re leaving, so tell them what you do and why it’s important. Also, listen to them when they talk about their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to feel sad. You may be tempted to sneak out when they’re asleep to avoid tears, but it’s actually better that they can say good-bye and hear you reassure them that you’ll be back and remind them when that is.
Staying Connected on the Road
Once you’re traveling, you don’t have to be out of sight or out of mind. Instead, technology and creativity can come together to help you and your family not just stay in touch but create memories.
- Schedule nightly video calls. With FaceTime, Zoom, and other video calling software, you can see your family every night. A strategically placed iPad at the dinner table means you can sit down for dinner with your family every night, or get two copies of the same storybook and send one home so you can read to your kids at bedtime. For older kids, find out what your kids are working on in school so you can help with school work.
- Ask open ended questions. When you’re talking to your kids, keep the conversation going with open ended questions. Instead of, “Did you have a good day,” ask things like, “What was your favorite part of the day?” or “What was the most interesting thing you learned today?”
- Share pictures of the city you’re in. Take pictures of the city you’re in, from well known landmarks to pretty flowers and interesting buildings, and send them to your family and tell them a bit about your new town.
- Start a collection with your kids. If you visit different cities, start a collection of things like postcards, spoons, or stuffed animals that you can send to your kids each time you go out of town.
Create a Home Away from Home
If you have a few days off and you’re only a few hours away from home, instead of driving home, see if your family can come visit you for a few days and show them around your temporary town. You can even go a bit further with this if your children have time off school or they are doing virtual learning and have your family stay with you for few days or a week. While you may be at work during the day, you’ll still get valuable time in the evenings or your day off to spend with them. Create a list of things they can do or even a scavenger hunt of pictures to get while you’re working so they can show you when you get home.
While it may be difficult to have your family come visit you if you’re staying in a hotel room, if you rent a furnished apartment, it’s much easier. A fully stocked and furnished kitchen allows you to have meals at home, plus there is more space and privacy for the kids to play.
Rent a Furnished Apartment for Your Next Work Trip
If you’re going to be working for an extended period time away from home, renting a furnished apartment can offer you more flexibility and comfort than a hotel often at a lower cost for your company. At Corporate Accommodations, we have short-term rentals in Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem, and other areas in North Carolina so you can enjoy your trip to the Tarheel State and even have your family stay with you. To learn more, reach out to us today at 336-299-1312 or fill out our contact form below.