Balancing Business Travel and Your Wellbeing

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5 Practical Tips for Navigating the Demands of Work Travel and Prioritising Your Health and Connections

From the outside, business travellers can appear to be living a glamorous life. But those who travel frequently know this is not always the case. Travelling to the airport can often be a nightmare, arriving at meetings late because you got lost can leave you feeling stressed and missing out on family time and events can seriously impact your mental health. While there is no doubt travelling for work can be challenging, there are a number of steps you can take to get the most of your trip personally and professionally – and we’ve put together some simple guidelines to help.

How to Run a Global Business During COVID-19

1. Stay connected with family

While your family may not be able to be part of your trip, it’s important to share your experience with them and remain connected. If you have young children, prepare them by explaining where you will be going, and what you may be doing so they can visualise your travels. Ensure you reinforce that they will be cared for, loved and safe while you are away. Modern technology can make it easy to stay in touch, so where possible use video calls to connect face to face and even share some of the places you are visiting.

2. Avoid stressful situations

There is nothing more stressful than a mad rush to a closing flight. The stress hormone cortisol is released during stressful situations. Cortisol contributes to heart racing, release of sugar into the bloodstream, which increases your blood pressure. Chronic stress can lead to chronic health problems including anxiety, depression, heart disease, sleep problems plus memory and concentration impairment. Make sure you get to the airport early, have your presentations and workshops prepared well before disembarking, and learn healthy ways to manage stress contributors in your life. Speak with your GP or psychologist about strategies to manage stress.

3. Keep up your exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to keep both your mood and energy levels high while you’re away (and at home for that matter). Always remember to pack your gym gear so you can schedule in a walk, run or make use of any sporting facilities on offer. While your routine may be a little disrupted on your trip, there are benefits to exercising at either end of your work day. Exercising in the morning can boost your confidence and give you a sense of achievement, which is always a good start to the day while it can also help you release the stress anxiety and tension that has built up over the day.

4. You cannot work 24/7

Working longer hours, does not necessarily mean you will be more productive. In fact, a recent Swedish study which trialled a 6-hour work day in nurses (on an 8-hour salary) showed they took less sick days, felt healthier and were more productive. While cutting down to six hours per day may not be possible for everyone – it’s important to note that there is a point where productivity drops, and you may actually be doing more harm to your health and wellbeing than you realise. While business trips can often be over-scheduled, try to ensure you have at least a few nights to yourself to wind down, disconnect and relax.

5. Enjoy the perks when you can

Work travel can often take you to very interesting places, but many find they have no time to explore when they’re always rushing to the next meeting or engagement. Travelling for work is not a holiday but scheduling some down time into your plans may enable you to see some sights and enjoy the place you are visiting. You may even like to extend your trip to stay for a weekend if your work/travel policy allows.

With these tips in mind, have a happy and well-balanced work trip.

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References

1. www.mayoclinic.org

2. Gyllensten K et al; Experience of reduced work hours for nurses and nurse’s assistants at a surgical department. A qualitative study. BMC Nurs 2017, 16 : 16