Don’t let business travel strain your relationship
Business travel can be exciting and profitable, or it can feel exhausting, physically and emotionally. This is especially true when work-life balance seems difficult, and when business travel strains your relationships.
Dawn Weir, head of kulula work, says that many relationships become strained when one partner is often on the road, and that this isn’t necessarily restricted to couples with, for example, small children.
“It can be difficult when one partner is away and the other is at home with, say, a teething toddler, but similar stresses can affect couples who don’t have that extra pressure.
“The partner who’s travelling might, for example, feel guilty about not being able to help at home, while whoever’s at home might assume the one who’s travelling is being waited on hand and foot.”
Weir, who’s travelled extensively for business, suggests a few easy ways to keep your relationship healthy when one of you is away.
See the positives: perhaps you’d rather be at home, but that hotel buffet breakfast means you don’t have to cook or wash up. And if you’re the one who’s at home, perhaps that means a little me-time to binge-watch the Magnum PI boxed set your partner can’t stand, or a chance to learning to play the accordion.
Recognise that business travel isn’t really a holiday: your conference in Barcelona might give you an opportunity to see the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, but that comes with time in immigration queues and shuttling between accommodation, expo venues and airports rather than being served bubbly and beluga.
If you’re the one at home, acknowledge your thwarted wanderlust and envy is allowed, but remember that your partner might also be sitting through Death By PowerPoint in a grey auditorium somewhere.
Make contact routine: find a time that works for each you each day to have some face-time, whether it’s on Whatsapp or any of the new platforms, like Appear.In, ooVoo, Viber, or even the much-maligned, up-again-down-again Skype.
Try one of the new apps specifically for private relationships, like Couple, which combines aspects if Whatsapp with elements of Snapchat, deleting your messages after a while. If you have time, an app like Icebreak takes the famous “The 36 questions that lead to love” premise and poses questions for couples instead of strangers. It also offers the option of reading strangers’ replies, often with side-splitting results. Similarly, Happy Couple asks five simple questions a day to help you get to know your partner better.
Get your game on: if you’re in your hotel in Frankfurt, you’re in no position to unpack the dishwasher at home, but you could, for example, play Words With Friends with your kids while your partner gets on with chores at home or just to relax with a sundowner. This helps you stay engaged with your family while allowing your Significant Other some breathing-room.
Finally, one certain way to have a healthy relationship is to stay healthy yourself: sleep, exercise and fresh air will help. Rather than listless channel-flicking, stay rehydrated and get some rest, and in the morning, lace up those running-shoes and get your heart-rate up.
Dawn Weir, Head of kulula work has more than 28 years corporate travel experience. Her career has included work for blue-chip companies such as HRG Rennies Travel, Carlson Wagonlit and Medtronic where she implemented tailor-made corporate travel solutions for their customers including Barclays, Pfizer, Sasol and Barloworld. Throughout her career, Weir has worked to make corporate travel more effective and efficient through cost-saving mechanisms, enhancing process-efficient travel solutions and best-of-breed customer service. As a specialist in corporate travel management, Dawn connects with corporates for seamless business travel.