“I’m an American living in England, and like many people, I hadn’t seen my family in the United States since before the pandemic. Along with all the challenges and stresses that Coronavirus has created, I had homesickness and a longing to see my family on top of it. My husband and I had been waiting all summer for travel restrictions to ease so that we could take our two children and go abroad, but things weren’t getting any easier. We finally decided, very last minute, to go for it and headed to the US in the last few weeks of the school summer holidays – Covid-19 tests, heaps of paperwork and all! Because this trip was so last minute, one of my main concerns was making sure that my work responsibilities and commitments with my team were kept. Between the TUI Flexible Working guidelines, and my supportive and accommodating team, my long-awaited reunion with my family was made possible.
I visited the States for a total of two and a half weeks. During that time, I continued to work for one of the weeks, and I took the rest of the time as annual leave. This not only saved me from using some of my annual leave days, but it gave me extra time to tie up loose ends and plan my handover as the trip was so last minute.
During my time working abroad, I set up a quiet working space, and my mom helped by looking after my children during my working hours. I even managed to work outside and enjoy the sunrise a few mornings. I was surprised at just how manageable it was to work on a time zone five hours behind my usual location, and that of the rest of my team. The only adjustment that had to be made was to reschedule our daily team huddle to slightly later in the morning for me to join. Thanks to jetlag, it was easy for me to wake up early the first few mornings, but admittedly I did join a few of our team huddles still in my pyjamas! Once I was up, I had no trouble getting into the swing of business as usual. It was also great to virtually catch up with colleagues based in my same time zone after my team in the UK had finished their working days.
It was awesome to experience, first hand, just how global our business is. There I was sat in a small town in Ohio and having calls with colleagues in Italy, Mexico, Spain and England. It’s what a global, flexible working business is all about.
I feel so grateful to work for TUI, where flexible working is embraced and encouraged. If it weren’t for the flexible working policy, I likely would not have been able to take this spontaneous trip to reunite with my family after 20 long, hard months apart.”