I’ve worked on the road a lot over the last few years. I’ve worked everywhere from hotel lobbies in the Dominican Republic to the back of a cab in Toronto. We’ve talked about the things that make a business hotel great, along with some innovations that make business travel suck less, but one thing that is rarely talked about in business is the process of working on the road: the process of working effectively in a different city, state or country.
Over the last few years, business travel has fluctuated with the state of the economy. Yet recently, there has been an upswing in business travel as Forbes reports an increase of 83% in business travel on some airlines. For those who don’t travel for business often, it sounds like sugar plums and lollipops but that’s far from the reality. It’s a long process and one that can take a toll on you if you don’t manage your time and workload effectively.
Plan Your Schedule Carefully
Trust me when I say there’s nothing more embarrassing than running through an airport, out of a cab, up a flight of stairs and into your prospects office drenched in sweat. That’s what could happen to you if you’re not careful in planning your schedule. Give yourself lots of time between meetings and phone calls, so you’re not stuck making calls as soon as you walk out of one client’s boardroom. Beyond meetings, it’s also important to use your calendar to schedule time to finish proposals, reports and the actual work.
Bring All Your Gadgets & Tools
Whether it’s a tablet, phone or laptop, make sure you have everything you need to be effective no matter what the road throws your way. Do you think Batman would ever walk around without his trusty tool-belt? I don’t think so and you shouldn’t either. Bring everything you need to be effective on the road and double check to make sure you packed what you need to be both effective and efficient.
Hotels With WiFi Or Say Bye Bye
It’s hard to believe that some hotels still don’t offer free WiFi for their guests. I’ve made the mistake of booking a hotel that said, “We offer WiFi,” only to be met with a paywall shortly after my arrival. Sure, the lack of “free” should have been my first sign but who knew there were still hotels willing to play these dirty tricks? Research your hotels using TripAdvisor or dig deep into other reviews found online. AirBnB, an online marketplace that allows people to rent a room or their home, has recently become one of my go-to options for accommodations and “Free WiFi” is typically a part of every home.
Don’t Over Plan Anything
Be flexible with your planning. If you’re not flexible, you’re going to stress yourself out and become anxious. When I say don’t over plan, I’m not talking about what you’re going to say during your pitch or presentation. I’m talking about not over planning as it relates to where you need to eat dinner, what time you need to be in bed and what time you need to be in the lobby. Give yourself time and don’t hold yourself to being a few minutes behind for your morning coffee.
Charge Everything. Everyday.
If you’re going to be on the road, you need to ensure your technology is working at full capacity. Your laptop should be charged when you go to the Airport and your phone should be charged, so you’re never stranded looking for a pay phone. Most hotels have outlets next to the bed, use them and sleep with your devices charging so you can wake up to 100% battery life in the morning. After Folgers, a charged battery is one the best parts of waking up.
I’d love to hear what tips and tricks you’ve learned from working on the road. Tweet us your thoughts @Introhive!