I’m incredibly fortunate that I get to work from home, full time, but it does mean I have spells of working away from home. Some people may not see working from home as a benefit, that the distractions of home life become too much to be productive, but for me, that really isn’t the case. But every few weeks (not at the moment of course, but soon again hopefully), I have to travel to the training ground for meetings and just some face-to-face time with colleagues. And a pint in the pub, of course!
I’ve written before about working from home, you can find those posts here and here – but what about some tips for working away from home. If you’re not a parent / carer, then you’ll probably think this is quite a trivial thing, but for me, I really struggle to leave Ashleigh and Grayson – so we’ve come up with a few things we do to make working away from home just a little bit easier.
My Top 5 Working away from home tips
Plan in advance.
Of course, sometimes you have to drop everything and travel – that can’t be helped, but where possible, try to plan your work trips in good time. That way, there’s time to ensure that everything is ready. For me, it’s small things like making sure Ash and Grayson won’t run out of the essentials (nappies, milk, chocolate, cheese Doritos, you know the stuff, essentials ;-)). It also means we can sort childcare (if Ash is working), and can plan meals so that we get to eat together where possible
As Grayson gets older, he’s obviously much more aware of what’s going on. To avoid stressing him out, we try not to change any of our routine whilst I’m away. I’ll sort things throughout the day before whilst he’s occupied playing, so when it comes to the end of the day, I’m not left rushing around packing, instead, I get to spend the same time with him before bed.
Timing is key
We’ve got it down to a fine art now. Thankfully, I never have to go away for too long, normally it’s only one night, sometimes it can be 2 or 3 nights depending on workload and schedule. We’ll put G to bed as normal, but instead of sleeping in his bed, he’ll sleep in with Ashleigh. I’ll then sleep in Graysons bed (he has a normal bed, I’m not squeezing in to a crib!) which allows me to go about my schedule without waking anyone up! I leave the house at 2am the next morning, as I drive to Liverpool and it takes about 5 hours.
I don’t have to leave this early, but it works for a couple of reasons. One; I get a full working day in Liverpool, meaning I can stay that night (go to the game if there is one, and have a pint in the pub if not!), and drive back the next day. And Two; I avoid ALL the traffic. I could get a train, but it’s unreliable, expensive, and I’d then need to get a taxi at the other end to get me to the training ground. Driving is good, it’s time alone, my choice of music, great thinking time. Oh, and Three; I arrive in time for the most incredible poached eggs at work. Every cloud.
It’s easier said than done, but when I’m away, Ash knows I’m always at the end of the phone should she need me. Yes I have meetings, or I’m at Anfield and might not have a signal, but she always knows where or how she can get hold of me. I get proper guilt when I go away, because although it’s for work, it does sometimes feel like a “break” – I get a solid nights sleep in a hotel room, a pint, and to watch football. So yes, it’s work, but I totally understand that it may seem like a jolly – so I always ensure Ashleigh knows where I am, so if there was an emergency, she can contact me. I know it’s stupid, it’s only one or two nights away, but that’s just how I role
Travelling every couple of weeks was a bit alien to me to begin with. I’d end up shoving all my stuff in my laptop bag and hopping in the car. I’d get to the office, and find my stuff was crumpled up, or I’d left something, or I’d leave something in the car when I went to the hotel. Just little things that would annoy me and stress me out.
Get yourself a good travel bag. Something that’s easy to carry, but big enough to store what you need. The team at trendhim kindly hooked me up with this incredible Duffel Bag, that means I can get everything in one bag, chuck it in the boot and grab it at the hotel, without worrying what I’ve left in the car! It’s incredibly well made, from strong canvas, and has a sturdy shoulder strap and carrying handles, and a sneaky inside pocket to keep the smaller items safe. trendhim have so many amazing products, they might as well just take my monthly pay now and send me all their products!
Also, make sure you are prepared for the journey. A 2am start isn’t fun for anyone, so I always make an iced coffee the day before (cold coffee is nicer than hot coffee in a thermos flask, top tip!). I’ve had this Contigo flask for a few years now, and it’s still going strong – ideal for driving, no fussy lids, and you can literally chuck it on the seat next to you without worrying about a leak. That’s not an ad, just a recommendation!
With lockdown easing, and after so many weeks of working from home, it’s going to be really difficult to head back to the office for a couple of days whenever that time may come. If you’re heading back to work, please do share your thoughts and experiences on how you plan to / have coped with leaving the family behind and working away from home – getting back in to the every day routine.
*Disclaimer* The trendhim duffle bag was a gifted product in return of this review. However, the opinions given are my own and in no way dictated by trendhim