Calls from Home when You’re on the Road

I am not a constant work traveler, but my work in the last couple years has started to take me on a few trips. While months may pass between the trips I have had to take for my business and work–it is still a big deal to my family when I am gone. As a single parent, the realities of traveling for one’s business can be daunting and while my kids do have another parent in the picture, it has so far not been a replacement for me. One of the challenges of business travel is those constant calls from home while I’m on the road…

I want my children to be able to reach and find me whenever they need me–even when I am on the road (perhaps, ESPECIALLY when I am on the road would be more accurate.) Even though I do whatever preparation I can and try to get things set up for them so things can go as smoothly as possible–the truth is, they miss me. They are used to having me to talk to every day and having me available to help them through things. Even though they generally do fine, I still get those calls.

Here is what I do to manage calls from home while I am on the road working: I leave a detailed itinerary with my kids and let them know when I will be arriving where, phone numbers, fax numbers, and room numbers. I also give them information about my work schedule, any adjustments for time zones, etc. This way, I clearly tell them when I am likely to be available to talk and when I won’t be able to take their calls. Knowing how easy it will to reach me and when seems to help them to avoid panic and manage themselves too. I also return calls home promptly. Even if I can only leave a message to let them know that I got the call and tell them when I will be available to talk. This also keeps them from panicking and making seventeen phone calls. Finally, I expect calls from home and schedule in time to talk to my kids. They need to know they can reach me and feel connected and with a little organization, I can stay focused on work and still touch base with home.

Also: Work Travel as a Single Parent–Part One–Preparation

Work Travel as a Single Parent–Part Two–What we Miss