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How does travelling and being away from home affect your trainers?

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I am doing research into the impact on home life, job loyalty and motivation etc for those trainers who travel, stay away and deliver on their own a lot. This is compared to those trainers who are more likely to deliver locally and therefore can return home each evening.

My own experience is that most people who deliver training are fully committed to the job and life-style, and thouroughly enjoy the training environment. Yet there comes a time when, even for the most dedicated and professional trainer, the effect of being away, creates too many tensions and we suddenly start losing great trainers.

I would be really interested if anyone has similar experiences and if so, has this had an impact on the level of turnover of trainers? Would equally love to hear what strategies are used to encourage staff to stay and yet still respect the ethic of 'home-life' balance. Any other related comments or insights would be truly appreciated.

Thank you


Alistair Gordon

8 Responses

  1. Away from home
    We deliver training throughout the UK and in Europe.We try to use trainers in geographical areas so they do not need to stay away from home in the first instance. We also use a ‘buddy’ technique so if a regular stay away is required we pay for the spouse or partner to accompany. We network via the internet with all our tutors and as all delivery is viewed by a member of our board, support and assistance is at hand.
    we also operate a rota so not all trainers have to cope with regular trips and we communicate well so trainers can discuss life requirements and negotiate what they can and can’t do for us. We only use professionals now so mutual respect and tolerance is the key to a good balance and retention.

  2. Been on both ends of this
    I have been both an employer of trainers and a freelance trainer, doing the staying away bit for most of my working life.

    I agree that it is so much part of what we do that we accept it, but even then it is difficult to balance. As a company, we run similar schemes to those of the previous comment, and find it particularly useful to get groups of trainers together, where possible, so that they can ‘do something different’. If we have training delivery going over a few weeks, we can offer to keep the trainers where they are over the weekend and bring their partner/spouse etc to them. This provides a break away from the usual environment of getting home, doing the washing, ironing and packing to leave again, and is much appreciated.

    I would be pleased to discuss my experiences and would be very interested in the results of your research.

    Jooli Atkins
    01759 304321

  3. Loosing good trainers can be good!
    My experience is that when I worked for a company that made me travel abroad about 45 times a year, I began to see tow effects.
    1. I hated my employer more and more for just shipping me out with only a regard for the revenue stream
    2. Realised that I must be valuable asset, so start punting for a job where my value is recognised.

    I agree with comments about getting out on the road is a good thing, as it offers the ‘mental’ break, but for my travel I soon liked to idea of learning about new cultures, and my observations (generally) of people who train and do international travel, are generally more tolerant and receptive, and bring god diversity into their role, and organisation.

    As a freelance just starting up, I have the luxury of being at home a lot, and my partner would say this creates different issues, as opposed to when I traveled the world, or when I did a stint recently of commuting 100 miles to work.

    I also wonder if you loose great trainers for the reason that great trainers are great absorbers of knowledge and experience, and therefore no one workplace can satisfy this desire for longer than 5 or 6 years. Therefore my remit when I ran a big global team was to work out how to cross transfer knowledge and skills (and self learning disciplines) across the team, so that even with high’ish’ turner over it limits impact ot business. It also allows a more creative pool if new comers are allowed to challenge/develop existing methodologies.

    I would also be interested in what your reseach turns up.

    [email protected]

  4. Trainers away from home
    I consider myself a professional, dedicated to the job etc but have reached a point where I am reviewing my current position after too many nights in hotel rooms. As well as a developer of people, I am also responsible for the development, welfare and security of a 4 year old child who sometimes asks “Mum why are you at home tonight ?” – Big hint there !
    I’m a good trainer, and caught in the home/work balance, intend being a good Mum too – so if anyone would care to offer me some work in the North West that meant I could carry on being a good trainer, but also do my bit as a Mum – please feel free to contact me !!!
    Interested in the outcome of your research, especially as I work with 2 blokes who think nothing of packing their bags and spending the week away from home as “It goes with the territory!” But then, maybe the male/female thing is another story ……

    Best of luck
    Andrea

    [email protected]

  5. Travel and over night stays
    I travel throughout England and North Wales as part of my job. I stay away on average one night per week, sometimes more, and I consider this to be essential if I am not to kill myself by driving when exhausted. Otherwise, I go there and back in a day. However, I have no family commitments. I am mindful of my staff – two of whom have child care responsibilities and therefore I bear the brunt of the overnights. However, my organisation helps out by being totally flexible over working hours – e.g. I am able to claim back extra hours worked etc. by taking time off as I like – in other words I manage my own time, and my staff do likewise.

    I think if staff are leaving because of long hours and travel, this is the only way in which we can help – as well as looking at the obvious ‘is your journey really necessary?’ What about video-conferencing for instance – and can we use trains as well as cars/

  6. Working Away
    I wish I had had the employers that have allready responded however I din’t.
    I worked for a male dominated company and covered the whole of the uk . This was fine I spent 2 nights a week away from home and clocked up a huge number of working hours and mileage. However the working time directive came in and included travelling time as part of working hours thus in practice I was away from home 3 / 4 nights per week for 3 weeks out of 4. Then I was made redundant by the company.
    The next 3 months where strange to say the least. I had no car and had severe withdrawal symptons, I have solved this by having away days where I travel 250 miles or more. This gives me the space and thinking time I used to have when covering all those miles.I now find this essential to my mental well being.
    I discovered also that my husband and I no longer knew how to live together because in effect we had not lived together for over a year. We are still working on that one .
    Having a family ? I did not even consider this as a remote possibility while working for this company and had no time to think about it.
    What I find worse is that I had a full time trainer who did Store openings, she was off sick with depression when I started on her return she resumed her duties, I discovered she was working to the exclusion of her own life, a fact which I endeavoured to change with her. However there was no support, or understanding of this from the company. In the end she took a demotion back to store manager and left the company. What a huge waste of a talented young trainer. she will be lost to training as her experience was so unpleasant she will not re enter the training field. It is a huge shame however I have retained her as a friend and hope to help her overcome her fears eventually.
    I loved this job but would not go back to it. I now work from home as a freelance trainer I can choose what I will do and where I will go, and if it dosen’t suit me I don’t do it.

  7. Training Away from home
    It is very sad to see how many casualties there are by working away from home. It seems to us that the use of IT and a careful look at what really needs to be done ‘away’ and by whom is the only answer. Fortunately the use of the intranet and more webwise training will eventually see the end of the longhaul runs up and down the motorway.

    In terms of motivation , the freelancers have really come into their own. The portfolio career and the multi disiplined associate trainer will ultimately have control over their working life and thus reduce stress.

    Our workforce makes decisions to work with us as fellow professionals, we are a networked business providing the services we know all businesses need.

    Inevesting in people has become a necessity if we are to retain good trainers in our workforce and that means listening to what makes them happy! Good luck to all those who decide there is a better way and go freelance with their skills.

    Training By Design Global Ltd

  8. Away or Home?
    I used to travel throughout UK on average spending 120 nights away – it had always been part of my personal relationship with my man. I had been travelling for 9 years. I moved jobs and had a dread of having to work 9-5 Monday to Friday and how would it change our relationship at home?
    I loved the new steady days and hours and being able to plan extra-curricular activities and full weekends (instead of that going somewhere sometime on Sunday) and our relationship changed – for the better! I also enjoyed the office camaraderie that I hadn’t experienced since joining training.
    When I now need to travel for my job, it’s a sort of novelty – for the first few days, and then it’s a bore – yet another (temporary) shift in the relationship.

    As someone else has mentioned – good trainers are dedicated to their job – it sounds like Susan McCoughlin’s company has the right idea – share fears and needs among staff to ensure that travelling is fairly handed out – and good luck!

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