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How to stay close to family when work takes you away from home

Alicia Ranford
07 September 2011 2 minute readShare

A new website called Mining Family Matters has published a guide for families whose bread-winners spend a lot of time away from home. We think there are some lessons for every business person in it, so check out the ten tips from "Working Away: A Survival Guide for Families."

The mining industry is increasingly reliant on "fly-in, fly-out" workers who live in the cities and travel for weeks at a time to work in remote areas.

A new website, Mining Family Matters has published a guide to help families cope with that situation.WAG_front_cover

"Working away offers financial rewards and allows families to spend extended blocks of time together, but it can also cause challenges in terms of communication, intimacy and ensuring children cope with changing routines," says the site's creator Alicia Ranford.

The guide offers the following ten tips to help parents and partners cope with this unusual situation, and here at My Business we feel plenty of entrepreneurs can also take something away from the list for the times when they get very busy. And we like to give niche businesses like this site a boost.

So, without any further ado, here are ten tips from "Working away: a survival guide for families."

1. "Don't assume your life is tougher than the person who's away/at home. It's natural to feel this way ... but getting into a competition about it all won't help your relationship."

2. "Show a little enthusiasm when you're reunited. Yes, this takes an effort sometimes, especially when you've had a bad day or been flying for hours to get back home – but the rewards can be big."

3. "To help your children cope, never talk about Mum/Dad 'going away' or 'leaving'. It should always be Mum/Dad is 'going to work'. They're just words, but children take things very literally."

4. "When you are home with the kids, work together to make a special bracelet, card, book or other object to act as a reminder of your bond. Something pocket-sized is great because it can be carried around and treasured every day."

5. "Start out with a team plan. What do want to achieve personally and professionally? If you're part of a united team with very clear goals, this can be your focus when times get tough."

6. "Agree on a realistic list of jobs that need doing around the house on the days you're together – and then write them down. Cuts out the need for nagging and arguments about being nagged."

7. "Don't organise a massive amount of social activities for the time you're together. Some couples have a rule of just one catch-up with friends or family over the break at home."

8. "Talk about any problems that arise as a symptom of the lifestyle, rather than as a relationship problem. This will help you tackle issues together as a team, rather than thinking there is 'something wrong' with your relationship or either one of you."

9. "Differing libidos challenge most long-term relationships. For couples who often live and work apart, there's the added pressure of separation. It's important to talk openly and honestly about your satisfaction with your sex life."

10. "If phone contact isn't possible, get clever about staying connected: hide little love notes in the suitcase/around the house; read the same book or watch the same DVD as your partner; write a special note to each other for every day you're apart – to be opened at the same time each day."

How to stay close to family when work takes you away from home
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Alicia Ranford

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