How to Achieve a Work-Travel Balance
by Isabel Eva Bohrer | November, 2011
Much has been written about “work-life balance,” and how to achieve this seemingly impossible equilibrium. Whereas some people use the term “work-life balance,” others prefer phrases such as “work-life effectiveness” or even “work life fit.”
Dalton Conley, a sociologist at New York University has even developed a further term: the “weisure” principle. “Weisure” is the combination of work and leisure, which according to Conley, is a line that is becoming increasingly blurred in our modern day lives.
So how does one find a healthy balance between work and travel? If we follow Conley’s pioneering principle, we might term this “treisure.” How do we go about achieving a successful “treisure?”
For one, it might be necessary to split the answer to this question into several categories. It all depends on where you work, where you travel and whether you do one for the other. That is, essentially, there would be the following categories:
- Those who travel for work.
- Those who work and travel.
- Those who work and travel, but not at the same time.
Let’s take a look at the first category.
Those Who Travel for Work
In the conventional career ladder, this is the most common scenario. In fact, much has been written about business travelers who try to maintain a work-life balance. Note that “travel” in this case can mean anything from a commute to work in a car or public transport, to taking an airplane halfway across the world. While it is naturally harder to keep in touch with family and friends if you are an ocean away, the issues you face might be similar.
Marketing Vox reports that despite increased time in transit, business travelers balance work and life. “One myth about business travel is that travelers have to put their lives on hold and cannot stay in touch with friends and family when away from home, but the results of this survey show that’s not consistently true,” said Rob Greyber, senior vice-president of North America for Expedia Corporate Travel.
A recent Expedia study surveying more than 1,100 US-based business travelers showed that these same travelers are getting creative to maintain their relationships on the road. Here are a couple tips on how to go about that:
- relying on technology
- using health-conscious hotel facilities
- actually bringing companions
- scheduling downtime to relax and enjoy yourself
- scheduling downtime to take care of personal matters.
Now let’s examine the second group:
Those Who Work and Travel
If you Google “work and travel,” numerous opportunities will come up all over the world. Essentially, they are gap-year like programs, where you work in a foreign country and at the same time, are offered the chance to travel. Jobs themselves tend to be the typical work-abroad job, including but not limited to:
- teaching English
- working in a bar or restaurant
- working on a cruise ship
Given that these opportunities often pay very little, you may need to work more hours. Maintaining a “work-life balance” might be harder. But on the other hand, the fact that you are abroad and seeing new ways of life in itself may be a compensation.
To maintain a work-travel balance if you are working and traveling at the same time, be sure to inquire beforehand how much you will be getting paid and how many hours you will need to work. Also, finding out about the cost of living in your destination is very useful. If you plan ahead and budget beforehand, it should be significantly easier to maintain an equilibrium.
Those Who Work and Travel … But Not at the Same Time
Basically, this category refers to people who have a stable office job at “home.” They then leave this “home” to go on an official “vacation.”
Due to the interconnected nature of our 24/7 society, it is becoming more and more difficult to disconnect completely. In a recent article, Mickey Meece of the New York Times wrote: “Who’s Your Boss, You or Your Gadget?” With smartphones, tablets and laptops, people from work can reach you all the time.
To really break into vacation mode, it might be necessary to switch all of those devices off completely once in a while. At first, it might not sound like a viable option. But you will see how liberating it is if you just try it.
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