In the modern era of globalization, for many workers, their work involves travelling. In the past years, business trips mainly concerned the transport, construction, export and military professions. Nowadays, the need for travel is characterized by a large number of professions, including heads of departments, consultants, IT specialists, economists and so on.
Employees of these categories travel with the purpose of visiting new customers, attending business meetings, attending conferences, and the list has no end.
Their presence in other countries than those they work for strengthens their relationship with customers and suppliers as well as the presence of the company in the international field. Business travel is an important part of the lives of many European citizens and a vital part of global entrepreneurship and economy.
But what happens when a business trip becomes a family affair?
Source of opportunities or problems?
On the part of workers, short business trips may have some positive effects. For example, a journey provides the person with a sense of freedom and independence, away from the routine of work and the supervision of the supervisor and his colleagues. This removal from the work environment can be a protective factor for the burnout phenomenon as it enhances personal development, employee initiative and entrepreneurship.
In all of the above, we could add to acquaintance with other cultures.
There is also the view that travel, or even the availability of one to travel for business, can help him to get a higher job. Suffice it to think that many management posts often require travel and require skills such as initiative, flexibility and adaptation to different cultures.
But what is the price of such a choice? There are few researchers who emphasize the negative impact of trips on individuals by linking them to the conflict of work and family they are experiencing. They say that, beyond financial costs, business trips reduce the sense of well-being and professional performance of the individual and cause stress to both himself and his family.
Many findings show that travel for work needs can become particularly stressful when they are in conflict with family life and the obligations it entails.
Traveling companions need more frequent medical care and show higher levels of stress than their companions who do not need to travel. It seems, therefore, that the family experiences the employee’s absence and feels tension that acts as an extra stressful factor for him. This can also be interpreted through the concept of the transfer of stress from one partner to another. Finally, since business trips increase the working and family conflict, they are likely to lead to dissatisfaction with the marriage.
The extent to which business trips will affect family balance depends on the type of family. In particular, younger couples, especially couples with small children and little experience in separations, are more prone, while couples who live longer together learn to adapt to the travel requirements and the period of separation can renew their relationship. In terms of gender, some research suggests that work-family conflict in business travel appears to be higher in women traveling than men, while others do not identify gender gaps.
With qualification flexibility
What should be noted is the need for an overall assessment of the selection of candidates from the staff departments since, beyond the formal qualifications, they are now called upon to understand and which of the employees have expectations of developing their careers, who are free to do business trips as well as who can move to another city because of their job obligations.
However one more thing can be also mentioned. If the employee has the opportunity to be accompanied by his alter ego at some big and long term trips, things should be better. If for example a trip to Indonesia includes a Komodo accommodation for the employee and his other half, besides the days he really wants to be focused on the works, is really going to give them the courage to handle the general situation.
So the question arises: “a passenger” with a career or a “professional” family man? Whatever you choose, the sure thing is that the combination of career and family is a challenge for both the individual and every successful business.