Even though you are travelling for business, the ironic thing about business travel is that it can make staying productive a challenge. After all, you’re miles away from your office but worlds away from your regular routine. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for how you can stay as productive as possible while you're on your next business trip.
Identify the type of work you'll be doing and bring the technology that will help you get it done. For example, you don't want to find yourself with just a smartphone or a tablet if you are going to need a laptop to handle all the spreadsheets and reports you need to deal with. And remember that if you need it to do your work, then it should travel with you in your carry-on bag. Your tech won't do you any good if you have a six hour layover but everything is packed away in your checked baggage.
Most airlines and hotels provide wi-fi these days, but don't leave yourself open for a rude awakening when you discover that your hotel either doesn't provide it or that the connection is poor. You can deal with this one of two ways, purchase a wi-fi hotspot of your own before you leave home (your employer may be willing to help you out with this) and bring an ethernet cable with you. If the wi-fi in your hotel room is spotty, the ethernet cable will be your lifeline.
Lists and to-do's
While you are still back home in your office, make a list of all the work that you want to get done while you are out of town. If you have a list of what you need to do in front of you, you won't be at a loss when you find yourself with a spare hour here or an odd 15 minutes there. Even if you always carry out the same tasks when you are at the office, being on the road can be disorienting and it's easy to forget things.
Don't rely on being able to print up important documents when you get to your destination. Not every hotel is equipped for business travellers. If it is critical to your meeting or presentation, be sure to print it out ahead of time and bring it with you. This will save you from having to run around the hotel trying to find a printer while you are trying to get ready for an important meeting.
Dealing with email
Long flights and layovers seem tailor-made for catching up with the piles of email that can get out of hand anytime you go out of town. It's as though everyone knows you aren't in your office so they decide to reach out to you for something right then. You can help ease the burden by making sure everyone in your office knows that you'll be out of town and setting up an auto-message that lets people know when they email you that you are out of town. This message can direct them to an assistant or a colleague if they need urgent help, otherwise you can let people know that getting a reply may be slightly delayed.
Time zones can be tricky to deal with when you are on the road. You're often wide awake while everyone else is sleeping. But you can make these differences work to your advantage by fitting in hours of distraction-free work while everyone else sleeps.
In the end, try your best to squeeze in a little downtime for yourself. Do a little sightseeing. Relax. Even business travel shouldn't have to be all about business.
About the author:
Will Norquay is a frequent business traveler who shares his experiences and thoughts writing for Stayz, Australia’s #1 holiday rental website.