How to switch off from work while on a business tripMonday 12 March 2018 by Jessica Mendoza Whether you’re on a business trip for just a few days or a work placement away from home that lasts weeks or even months, it’s important to switch off from your job from time to time. After all, you don’t usually spend every minute of every day working, so why should you on a business trip?
Why switching off is important
When you’re away for work, the temptation is to give it your all, but this will soon lead to burnout and mean you can’t do your job as effectively in the long run. This is especially the case on shorter business trips, when it’s easy to justify overworking, as it’s only for a few days.
Plan your time
There’s a good chance that your work commitments won’t fit into the 9-5 parameters that they usually do while you’re away from the office. It may be that some clients can only meet you in the evening or that the reason for your trip is to attend special functions, which by their nature mean they’re held after work hours. Take a look at your commitments and establish when you’ll have some free time that you can use for yourself. It could be in the morning when you can enjoy breakfast before looking at your work emails or that proposal. Perhaps there is a two-hour slot at lunchtime, when you could go for a run or enjoy an exercise class or beauty treatment.
Enforce a work-free and device-free hour before bed
Getting a good night’s sleep is key to optimal performance and this can be hindered if you’ve been thinking about work right up to the time your head hits the pillow. Create clear boundaries between work and rest by switching off all devices and thoughts of business tasks an hour before bed. Leave your work phone, laptop, reports or conference speeches in the living room of your serviced apartment and make the bedroom a sanctuary of relaxation. Have a bath using the luxurious toiletries provided, read a novel or listen to some music to unwind and you’ll find yourself in the best possible place to start the next day anew.
Schedule a video call with the kids
Nothing makes you forget the pressures of adult life like interacting with kids. If you’ve left your little ones at home, then be sure to schedule some time with them over a video call. It could coincide with them coming in from school or be at bedtime when you could tell them a story, either way, you’ll forget about business deals and grown-up pressures for half an hour.
Pack a pair of comfortable pyjamas or lounging clothes
We’ve all heard of power dressing and wearing the clothes for the job you want, so it makes sense that the stiff suit or pencil skirt you don for client meetings puts you in the mind to work. When your work tasks for the day are complete, change out of these items and into something more comfortable. This will help draw a line between work and downtime and mean you’re less likely to reach for that client brief for one last read through before the next day.
Do something destination specific
As a business traveller, it’s very easy to travel the world seeing the inside of conference centres and nothing of the local culture. Identify one thing in your destination that you’d really like to experience while you’re there. It could be a local art gallery or a special dish that comes from the area. It may only take half an hour or half a day out of your schedule, but it’ll make you feel more relaxed and that your trip was worth it personally, as well as professionally.