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Hi All

I've been working away from home for a few months now.

Although I have relatively little to do here but work I find my motivation dips at times. Obviously when you do work away your work life balance is poor, although I do get to go home most weekends.

I do have the odd hobby (playing football etc) which I do with the guys from my host company so I'm not a complete hermit!

Any tips in general to deal with working away from home?

Thanks in advance

 

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 Is it just you from your company who is working away in that town/city or are others?  Over the last few years I've worked with a lot of consultants who all came from the same consultancy.  They had regular events organised (Tuesday is 'Nandos Night', Wednesday is 'Bowling Night' &c).

If that isn't an option then try a service like TripIt.  If you use LinkedIn and add TripIt to your home page then enter your trips it can tell you when other people in your network are in the same location and you can arrange to meet.  There is a similar service aimed at just women called Maiden Voyage. 

If you are a member of a professional body see if there is a local chapter and maybe attend their meetings.  Gets you out of your hotel room a night or two a month and gives you an excellent networking opportunity.  Similarly contact the local chamber of commerce and see if they have any open events.

Get the local paper a few times a week and look at the gig/events guide, or get the local 'What's On' guide.  I once got to see on of my favourite bands live, having missed them in my home city, whilst away on a  course because I happened to see a poster advertising that they were doing a gig that night in near where I was on the course.  If there's not a gig you want to see there might be an event or lecture at a local library or mueseum you are interested in.

Is there a local college offering short courses you're interested in?

Contact the local council's leisure/community department (or equivalent).  Often they will have lists of local events, some free some not.  Probabky 99% will be of no interest to you, but that one percent could be exactly what you like.

Always carry a pocket full of business cards with you, you don't want to miss a chance to grow your network.

Stephen

 

--

Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack

 

smorison's picture

Where is away from home? you might be able to meet MT members as well.

The_Kaiser's picture

Thanks Stephen, I will definitely bear those comments in mind. There are a few of us but we have fairly divergent tastes, plus the entertainment mainly seems to be of the fizzy variety if you catch my drift!

Plus as the Team Lead, I try to maintain a relatively professional distance (difficult when you share a flat with your directs!).

Smorison - currently kicking my heels in London and would definitely look out for any MT events. I have signed up to the London Testers Gathering who run events every few weeks, plus Hyperions Gaming Links (as I'm in that industry).

Hopefully once we've implemented the test process here I'll be able to work remotely closer to or even from home with weekly visits to the office.

 

DHumble's picture

BLUF: Don't wreck a realationship with your team by not being social

As a note, at most fizzy entertainment events it doesn't matter what you drink, particularly if it looks like a drink.  Soda water and a twist, or tonic water with lime is fine.  You'll be seen as one of the guys more easily, and I've gotten a lot of performance out of the odd glass of tonic and lime.  I usually start with the non-alcholic fizzy so that when someone wants to buy me a drink they can buy me a real drink.  I also usually proffer up a plate of bar food.  So here in the us it's usually wings or such.  I'm sure there's something similar in the UK.  Now for the High C / High D's the what to do and why to do it.

  1. DO go to the after work round at the bar, but not to all of them because it gives you exposure to the team, while still letting them have time away from the boss becase it builds the relationships.  See the next point for details.  Aditionally, going out occasionally with peers while the directs or out is a good way to not become everyones friend instead of manager.
  2. DO feed the people because according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (images.wikia.com/psychology/images/c/c3/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.png )  when we feed people we meet a physiological need, we also indicate security (of employement in this case) because it's the team we're feeding, bring them into the team (love and belonging) because again they are getting the food as a memebr of the team, and show respect for them (the esteem level).  This allows them to get closer to the capability of self-actualizarion.  Now obviously one drink or one chicken wing doesn't do all of this completely.  It does however get people closer.  Small course corrections are better than wild changes anyway.
  3. Go to events that you're invited to because someone else is trying to include you.
  4. Do allow other's to do the same for the same reasons.

Instead of saying "I can't because" it's better to say "I can and here's how" especially since, I'm guessing, you're feeling left out but perpetuate that feeling because you don't want to drink.  Depending on your situation you may want to have one or two alcholic beverages.  I don't suggest this for people who have religious, medical, or other personal prohibitions mind you, but being one of the guys a little is good for a manager.  Your role power is usually enough yo maintain professional distance, coupled with doing these same things with peers.

Make sense?

Mark's picture

...so I'm not the guy to ask, honestly.  I work away from home a LOT, and have NEVER had my motivation flag.

Work like hell when you're gone, and avoid television.  And when you go home, BE HOME.

Mark

The_Kaiser's picture

Since writing my original post I've realised a few things.......

Maybe, just maybe I've been complaining a bit too much. No one likes a moaner I guess, tough balance between registering your displeasure and being the guy who goes on and on and on.

Apparently the people at my host company LOVE the work I'm doing too, as do my consultancy. Payrises and promotions abound, so perhaps my motivational issues are in my head, not in reality!

Anyway, thanks for all the comments guys, sometimes you just need to get it down on paper/screen to get back to reality!