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Tips For Staff Working Away From Home

Working away from home overnight

Being asked to work away from home overnight can be an unsettling prospect for employees. Whether it’s a one time thing or a regular occurrence, your role as an employer should be to make sure that they’re comfortable and equipped to work effectively in unfamiliar surroundings.

Tips for staff working away from home:

  • Choose a well located hotel that’s convenient for where the work will be done
  • Pack essential items only
  • Bring snacks and drinks with you for the hotel room
  • Focus on getting a good night’s sleep
  • Utilise the breakfast buffet
  • Stay connected with colleagues, family and friends
  • Follow all safety protocols and guidelines
  • Understand the expenses policy

Being away for work can present challenges for employees, but with the right preparation and support, these situations can be handled confidently and productively – some may even love the opportunity for a few nights away!

In this article, we’ll provide some top tips for all employees who have to work away from home. We’ll also answer questions that people commonly ask on this topic too.

How to survive working away from home

Some jobs require people to be far away from their homes. A few months in another country or just a few days in a different city, either way, it can be difficult if it’s not something that you’re used to.

There’s so much that needs to be thought of like expenses, language barriers, staying connected, taking care of your wellbeing and more. Luckily, there are ways that can help make sure employees stay comfortable and productive when away from their day-to-day routines.

The following tips can help to ensure the process of working away from home is as positive as possible.

1. Choose a hotel that is ideally located

When you’re working away from home, you’ll want to make sure your commute is as painless as possible. To do that, pick a hotel near your job so you can walk or take public transportation. This can save you lots of time (and money) especially if you’re in a city with an efficient and affordable transit system.

Additionally, by choosing a hotel close to your office or work site, you’ll dodge the stress and unfamiliarity of driving around in new places or rush hour traffic. Plus, walking or taking the bus is green! By opting for these modes of transport rather than using single-occupancy vehicles, we reduce the amount of carbon emissions from cars on the road.

2. Pack the essentials

The most important thing when working out of town is making sure you have everything you need while away from home but without packing the kitchen sink. Travel light but effectively.

You don’t want to get to your trip destination only to find that you’ve forgotten something like a change of clothes or toiletries — even worse if it’s your laptop! Start packing ahead of time, but double-check closer to departure day to guarantee that everything on your list is packed up and ready for use.

If you’re a regular work traveller, you may want to keep a ‘travel bag’ set up and stocked at all times with chargers/toiletries and travel snacks. That way you just need to add your laptop and clothes for the time away.

Be sure not to forget any job-specific stuff while packing for your shift too (e.g., tools, company gear). If your packing space allows, consider bringing some personal items to make staying in an unfamiliar place feel more like being at home. This can be of comfort if staying away from friends and family any period of time.

3. Bring along some snacks and drinks to keep in your hotel room

Working away from home can make for some long days. This can leave you with little time to go out and grab some nutritious food. As the benefits of staying well hydrated and nourished are well documented, it’s important to make this a priority when away from home too.

It’s unlikely that you won’t be staying somewhere with room service or catering facilities of some sort, but taking a pack of nuts, some bottles of water or your favourite energy bars can get you through a hunger pang whilst you find somewhere for dinner. Staying on top of your nutrition will help to fuel your body which should in turn keep you firing on all cylinders and keep productivity high.

4. Get a good night’s sleep

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead.

If you’re someone who struggles to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, doing everything you can to get some shut-eye is even more important. Bring anything that helps you sleep with you, for example a sleep mask, ear plugs, a book to wind down, a favourite podcast, or your latest favourite series downloaded from Netflix.

It can be incredibly tempting to stay up late and finish that project or watch one more episode on Netflix, but you need to remember all of the benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, even when you’re away from home.

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll forget things easier, be in a bad mood quicker, and not be productive at work the next day. Meaning you’ll be more stressed than needed — especially when you’re working away from home.

Get enough rest so you aren’t falling asleep at your desk or having to down lots of coffee just to get through the day.

5. Wake up early and take advantage of the hotel’s breakfast buffet

If you’re travelling for business, most hotels will have a breakfast option available for you. This could be room service, a buffet, or a sit down and serve option. Not only will a good breakfast set you up for the day ahead, it can also be a good opportunity to stash snacks from the buffet for lunch or a mid morning break.

Whether you’re a black coffee, full English, or continental style breakfast person, set your alarm to ensure you have plenty of time to start the day right. If you’re travelling with other colleagues, you may want to arrange to meet them for breakfast. This can be an informal way to plan the day ahead.

6. Spend some time exploring the city during your lunch break or after work

Getting the most out of your time while you’re away from home for work is important and give a purpose to the trip other than just work. If your schedule allows, try to catch a break from work to go and see some local sites or meet with new people. This can help you to come back home feeling relaxed and energised by exploring different cultures and cities.

7. Stay Connected

Maintaining your support network is important so that even if you’re not physically close to people, you feel connected.

Overnight trips can make it really easy for someone to feel isolated when they aren’t home so make it a habit to stay in touch with your colleagues and supervisor so that if anything happens there’s no delay in resolving or getting help for the situation.

It’s also great if you can find a way to communicate with your family while you’re gone so they know that you’re safe and you can share your experiences with them. Some companies provide wifi which helps keep data usage low when trying to use video chat apps like FaceTime or Skype.

8. Take care of yourself

Health and wellbeing is important all the time and shouldn’t be neglected when away for work. If you like yoga or meditation, these practices can easily come with you wherever you travel.

If you like to journal, take your favourite notebook with you, and if you’re into fitness, there are plenty of equipment free workouts that you can do in your hotel room if there isn’t a gym available.

Exercise and mindfulness is a great way to release tension and stress which can all add up when working away.

You don’t need much – reading a book, going on a walk at a park nearby or even relaxing in your hotel room will do just fine. Just make sure you have something that makes you happy and comfortable while away from home.

9. Stay safe

Make sure to follow all safety protocols and guidelines while you’re working away from home. This might include wearing protective gear, following safety procedures, and knowing how to respond in case of an emergency.

Every company should have precautions and policies in place to protect lone workers and this should include provisions for working away from home and overnight stays.

Whether you need special safety equipment or just to login to confirm your safe arrival, staying safe and letting others know that you’re ok is very important.

On arrival to any destination, familiarise yourself with local safety procedures, emergency numbers and fire exits.

If you’re working overseas somewhere, consider checking out the Home Office website for any specific travel advice or information related to whatever country you’re staying in.

10. Understand expenses

The company should usually pay you back for necessary costs incurred when you work away from home. This could cover travel costs, living arrangements, and food. It’s better if you find out exactly what they’ll pay for before you actually go though; so that you don’t end up footing the bill for something that you couldn’t normally afford.

Ask your boss about the expense policy before leaving so that you know which bills are on you and which ones will be covered by the company.If you want to get back what you spend on a purchase with an expense claim, make sure to keep the receipt.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

What expenses can I claim when working away from home UK?

The costs that you can claim while working away from home in the UK will change depending on your company’s policy. For the most part, you should be able to claim for travelling, accommodations, meals and other applicable expenses as long as they are essential to doing your job.

What documents do I need when travelling for business?

You may need to bring some documents like your passport and travel insurance information. It’s always better safe than sorry, so before you go make sure to check the country’s requirements in advance. That way you don’t run into any hiccups. You might also need documentation for any expenses that come up while travelling. Keep all receipts of anything you purchase so that way later on you can file it as an expense.

What if I get stuck and need help?

Something as serious as being in a different country should not be taken lightly, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Most importantly, reach out to your manager or colleagues if there’s anything at all that leaves you feeling confused or helpless during this trip. International travel assistance services are also something worth looking into; this is so that their help is just a phone call away in case of an emergency.

You should also take note of what the number for emergency services is in the country that you are working in. This way you’ll never have trouble getting the right kind of help if worst comes to worst.

What is a living away from home allowance?

This is money that your employer pays you to cover additional expenses incurred due to being away from your home. For example, things like food, laundry, transports and internet costs may all need to be covered when away.

Final Thoughts

Working away from home overnight is a reality for plenty of workers. Employers must provide their employees with the tools and guidance they need to thrive in these situations. By following the tips and guidance outlined above, staff can maintain their wellbeing, productivity and sense of connection to family and colleagues even when on the road.

When armed with the right resources and mindset, overnight business travel can be an enjoyable experience for all kinds of people. Organisations with a culture of support and success can empower people to work well wherever they’re based.

 

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