How to keep business travel from taking over your employees' lives

Business travel is often viewed as the single biggest intrusion work makes onemployees' personal lives, says Christopher Newton, president and CEO ofWork|Life Benefits, a company in Cypress, California, that offers career andbenefits resource referral and administration services. But you can make iteasier for employees who spend time on the road to maintain their productivitywhile they balance their work and personal responsibilities. Newton has thesesuggestions:

Provide a consultation and referral program. Employees may needassistance with a variety of service and information needs related to traveland to caring for their families while they're gone. This is especiallyimportant for inexperienced travelers and for employees who are primarycaregivers for children or elderly dependents. Such a program can providedaycare or agency-care information at the destination, help with findingovernight care at home while employees are gone, or provide general informationabout travel issues.

Offer dependent-care vouchers. The cost of childcare, elder care andeven pet care can make business travel a serious financial burden foremployees. Consider a voucher program that reimburses workers for these extracosts.

Give as much notice as possible. While it may be impossible to totallyavoid last-minute trips, the earlier you give employees notice in advance ofbusiness travel, the easier it will be for them to prepare both professionallyand personally.