Business travel interrupts your routine and eliminates large portions of time throughout your day usually reserved for working on large projects. A change of pace and new environment can also help you think about challenges in a new way and return to work energized. To make the most of your time away from the office, use these nine tips for remaining productive during your next business trip.
1. Communicate with Your Team
Make sure your coworkers know exactly what your schedule is while you’re traveling for business. When they know when you’ll be available, how to contact you if something important pops up, and where to direct questions while you’re out of the office, you will be able to use your travel time and serve your company’s customers more effectively.
2. Pack for Any Circumstance
Your business packing list should include everything you might need during your trip, from an extra professional outfit to medications. Having extras in your bag will keep you from needing to make a trip to the dry cleaner or find the nearest drugstore.
3. Get to Know Your Destination
Research your business travel destination before you leave. Have a general idea of the neighborhood’s layout, how long it should take to get to your hotel from the airport, appropriate restaurants, and safe running routes. Know what landmarks and tourist attractions are near your hotel or meeting venue too, in case you have an unexpected bit of time to spend wandering around.
4. Use Technology
Let technology make your job easier on the road. Download apps, like Evernote and Slack, that give you a space to quickly jot down thoughts and communicate with your team when your laptop isn’t in front of you. Plan ahead to make sure you’re connected when you need to be, whether it’s learning how to use your phone’s hotspot, confirming high speed WiFi in the hotel room and on the flight, or adding a tablet to your employer’s phone plan. Make sure any document you may need during your trip is available via cloud-based file storage so you can access it from any device.
5. Make a To Do List
Start by writing down all the items you’ll need to accomplish on your trip to stay on schedule at the office. Divide this large list into more specific lists you can accomplish in the small chunks of time you’ll have to yourself. For example, make a list that you’ll take care of during your flight, one for items you can get done in your hotel room after the gym, and a third for short periods of time between meetings.
6. Set Up a Work Space
Some business travelers work really well from the couch, others need the white noise of a coffee shop, and some prefer to replicate their office space in their hotel room. Make whatever space you need to be productive happen. Ideally, this is a space you can leave set up. That way, it will be waiting for you when you’re ready to work.
7. Plan Working Lunches
Make your meal times, including lunch, dinner and drinks, more productive by using them to connect with others in your destination. This could mean a client meeting, catching up with peers at your company’s second location, introducing yourself to new hires, or in person networking with online connections.
8. Take Care of Yourself
Jet lag, shifted routines and daylong meetings can take a toll on your health, and therefore your productivity. Get enough sleep, pack healthy snacks and fit exercise into your schedule to remain healthy during business travel.
9. Rest and Recharge
Fitting as many items as possible into your business trip may seem productive, but it can leave you feeling tired and unmotivated, especially when you get back to the office. Use business travel as a time to explore a new place and recharge, which will make you more productive in the long run. Make it easier to get to know your host city with a hotel downtown, rather than by the airport, so clearing your mind can be as easy as a quick walk to a noteworthy destination.