44 percent of business travellers travel at least once a quarter, according to AirPlus International’s International Travel Management Study (ITMS). That’s a lot of time away from the office. And for managers, a lot of time away from their team. So, how can managers “keep the wheels turning” at work while they’re on business trips?
- Plan ahead
When you travel a lot for work nationally or internationally, there’s still time to stay on top of things if you plan carefully in advance and anticipate the time you’ll have spare during the trip. Ensure you have a detailed itinerary and schedule time in between commitments or during transit to fit in work as needed. Even 15 minutes here or there can make a big difference to addressing any team issues or questions, and lightening the workload you’ll return home to.
- Make use of downtime
One of the pitfalls of business travel can be the downtime caused by flight delays, layovers or waiting periods. Luckily, downtime can be used effectively to catch up on work, chat to your team, get a jump on a task or clear your inbox. Using this time for work also saves you from needing to work in periods which would be ideal for leisure time, allowing you to enjoy and explore your destination around your work commitments.
- Ensure your phone plans are up-to-date
This is a simple one, but make sure that you update your phone plan before you travel so that you have access to international roaming affordably. The last thing you want to happen is to be hit with ‘bill shock’ on your return, with a phone bill upwards of hundreds or thousands of dollars. These days there are several phone plans which give you access to international roaming at an affordable daily rate or factor in a certain number of minutes into your plan.
- Leverage technology to work well remotely
Technology is your friend when working remotely. Look out for wifi hotspots in airports and lounges and make use of them. Leverage Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts to catch up with your team face-to-face, despite the distance. When you don’t have internet access, make sure you’re set up to work offline until you can access an internet connection. For example, Google offers extensions to access Gmail offline, allowing you to read and respond to emails, and Google Docs offline, allowing you to view and edit files, all without access to the internet.
- Leverage virtual payment options
One of the time-consuming parts of business travel can be making bookings or payments. To speed up the process, leverage virtual payment options to book things in advance or make the process more seamless while on the trip. An example is AirPlus International’s A.I.D.A Virtual Card Solution which allows travellers to generate virtual MasterCard numbers anytime, anywhere in the world. By displaying a virtual card number, expiry date and CVC (Card Verification Code) on a smartphone, business travellers can simplify the payment process before or during a business trip. According to AirPlus International’s International Travel Management Study (ITMS), 77 percent of business travellers would maybe or definitely use virtual payment options if available to them, and it’s easy to see why.
Business travel doesn’t require you to put work on hold. With the right strategies in place you can stay on top of your workload and keep things humming, regardless of where you are in the world.
Danielle Jones is the Country Manager – Australia at AirPlus International.