There are millions of business travelers on the road every single day. Chances are sooner or later you will be one of them. Despite the amount of business travel we execute each year, it seems we’re not getting better at it.
Business trips often turn into lost opportunities at the main office. We often experience lower productivity, and fatigue due to lack of sleep in a strange locale.It’s no surprise that many executives find business travel to be stressful.
However, business travel is critical to the success of every company. Recent studies indicate a dollar spent on business travel can yield up to $2.90 in profit.
So it’s important tor your company to get business travel right. Here are five great tips that can help you make your next business trip better.
Establish a Company Travel Policy
A quick way improve how your company conducts business travel is to write a travel policy. Business travel is the second largest controllable expense for many companies. Failing to implement clear travel guidelines can end up costing your company dearly.
A travel policy can take the uncertainty out of business traveling for everyone. A good policy will describe how to plan, approve, and account for a business trip.
Automating your policy can help to integrate business travel into your overall company management enterprise. A clear business travel policy, enabled by software tools that integrate into the rest of your company’s systems, can save time and money, and can remove much of the uncertainty for everyone involved.
Set Conditions for the Home Office before Departing
More often than not, planning for business travel involves booking and then working out the schedule for the actual trip. What many business travelers – and managers – fail to do is to determine the things that have to happen in the home office prior, during, and after the trip.
As a result, productivity is often lost, and fleeting opportunities can be missed as well. To alleviate this, companies should take a close look at their schedules and ensure they are optimizing time.
Determine what meetings and decisions must occur during the period of the business trip; if necessary, adjust the schedule so that these critical events can occur prior to departure. If there are certain reports or events that must occur during travel, schedule time for a phone call or teleconference, so the traveler can participate.
Delegate authority if necessary for decisions that must be made in a traveler’s absence, and ensure that the office is prepared to handle these responsibilities while you are on the road.
A little planning and empowerment can ensure that the home office stays on track and makes progress while business travelers are absent.
Take the Office With You on the Road
No, not literally of course. But if you leverage current technology, your mobile devices can help you stay connected to your business, and turn any airport lounge, hotel room, or Starbucks into an office while you are out and about.
Invest in good laptops and mobile devices so you can be as productive as possible while you are out of the office, even while confined on a long flight. Don’t expect there to be Wi-Fi everywhere, either; you never know when you are going to end up in a dead spot with no Internet access.
Instead, ensure that your mobile devices can turn anywhere you go into a hotspot. Invest in good batteries and power sources too, so you can extend the operating life of your devices; that laptop is nothing more than dead weight to you if its battery dies mid-flight.
Your company should also be prepared to conduct effective video teleconferences while business travelers are on the road; this will enhance shared understanding across the entire enterprise, and minimize the loss of productivity that comes with being away from the office.
Automating your company, and taking advantage of cloud computing, can further enable business travelers to be more productive while out of the home office.
Packing Lean, Mean and Fast
Business travelers can lose significant amounts of time packing for their trips. They also lose time searching for items they forgot upon arrival at their destination.
Becoming a better business traveler can therefore save you time, energy, and money. Keep a packing list that is easy to update or modify on your mobile device. This will help ensure you do not forget to bring essential items. Invest in good luggage that comfortably fits all of the items you need on business trips. This will keep your items secure, and makes it easy for you to pack and unpack.
Also, be a minimalist business traveler. Learn to pack as light and as organized as possible. Traveling light will save you even more time on both ends of the trip. Consider buying redundant items, such as toiletry kits or even clothes. Doing so will let you keep a suitcase packed for business travel at all times. This will reduce the time and stress of travel preparation down to nothing. A permanently packed case will also mean you’re ready to travel on the drop of a dime.
Business travel can help your company take advantage of fleeting opportunities, and make it more profitable over the long run.
However, failing to establish a framework for business travel, or to prepare for the trips themselves, can waste money, induce stress, and decrease your company’s productivity.
To make your company’s next business trip more effective, implement an easily understood travel policy, and integrate travel planning, approval, and reconciliation into your company’s existing enterprise tools. Manage time effectively before, during and after business trips, to ensure that no productivity is lost, and leverage technology so that business travelers can stay connected to the company no matter where they are.
Finally, pack deliberately for every single business trip you go on, so that you save time on either end, and are as productive as possible.
These tips, as simple as they are, can remove uncertainty from business travel and help each trip add to your company’s bottom line.