On a business trip light

Robert Posen's book "At the Top of Opportunity" has a chapter dedicated to tips on how to plan and organize a business trip most effectively – how to spend productive time at the airport, on the plane and in a taxi, how to deal with the syndrome of changing sentries without harm belts. We are sure that this information will be useful to you.

So, let's go on a business trip – light.

* * *

How to plan your trip

Even if you are efficient in the workplace, you may find it difficult to travel long distances. Improved telecommunications systems have reduced the need for travel to some extent, but in some situations, nothing replaces face-to-face communication. Employees will always be sent on business trips, and they need to stay productive even on the road.

The effectiveness of the trip depends on planning. There are dozens of things to consider: one oversight can cause many problems in the future. Those who work with a referent have the ability to delegate functions. But if you don't have an assistant, you'll have to make a complete list of tasks so you don't lose sight of anything.

For short trips around the country, you can limit yourself to online booking an air ticket and a hotel. But when traveling abroad, most likely, you will have to contact a tour operator who will consider hundreds of possible flights, select the best options and help you to upgrade the service class. Only he knows all the nuances of international flights.

In addition, tour operators will help you find a comfortable and inexpensive hotel near your place of work. Having booked an air ticket and a hotel, you need to plan your movements around the city. In some countries it is risky to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. A well-dressed foreigner is an easy target for scammers. I believe that the best option is a personal driver who meets you at the airport with a sign (with your name on it) and takes you to your hotel. Write down the driver's name and phone number in case of unforeseen problems.

When it comes to getting out of the hotel, the locals will help you plan the most profitable route: keep in mind that in many cities traffic is difficult due to traffic jams. If a visa is required for a trip, all necessary documents must be prepared in a timely manner. Sometimes it takes a long time to get a visa; it is possible that the tour operator will contact the visa support center to speed up the process. Please note that you will have to provide your original passport, which may be needed during this period and for other purposes.

When planning to visit a country where not everyone speaks your native language, do not forget to bring your business cards in the local language. Representatives of a foreign delegation of any level should have a lot of business cards with them; stock up on them in advance: everyone wants to take a business card from each participant in each meeting. Finally, create a detailed daily travel schedule with all important addresses, phone numbers, etc. Attach the necessary documents to it, such as flight schedules, hotel confirmation, travel maps. You can leave a copy of your itinerary with your family so that they can contact you if necessary.

* * *

Effective business trip

Considering the details of the movement itself, be sure to consider other efficiency factors as well. In particular, be clear about your travel goals and make sure your schedule allows you to achieve them. If you are traveling abroad, check out the history and traditions of the country. Discuss the culture of the people with whom you will interact and its limitations with local representatives.

Commercial offer

Sometimes a business trip involves presenting a commercial proposal to potential clients. Before you leave home, you should make sure you have prepared a compelling presentation about the company: history, investment reputation, risk management system, biographies of client portfolio managers.

To prepare an effective presentation, you need to have a lot of information about potential customers, understand their motivation and requirements. Are they willing to take risks to make a quick profit? Or will they be more conservative in trying to protect their savings? Always create different presentations based on the preferences of your target audience.

Abroad, the problem of presentations is especially serious. You may know the culture of the country, but you may need to take a deeper look at the standards with which the potential client is involved. Please consult your local representative for details. If you are lucky, your company will have its own representative who is responsible for collecting data on potential customers. In addition, you can always contact a local consultant to get up-to-date information about the company and its employees. You may need to contact your local law firm to learn more about the regulations in force.

Business trips to branches

Sometimes business trips involve meeting with colleagues in remote offices or branches of the company. When visiting offices, set simple goals for yourself: learn as much as possible about the company's activities, inspire the team and share useful ideas. In general, you should prepare for your trip before you travel. Think carefully about your goals and discuss with your local representatives the most effective ways to achieve them.

* * *

At the airport without hassle

The airport is a hectic place. There are long lines everywhere, emaciated passengers and a hustle and bustle. In order not to get nervous, it is best to take with you as few things as possible – then you will be able to avoid checking your luggage.

Checking in your baggage is extremely ineffective. Firstly, it takes time, and secondly, after landing, you have to wait for a long time to receive your suitcases. You can send bulk items in advance by parcel. If you are traveling on a short business trip and checking in your luggage, you are probably not well prepared. If you only take what you really need, you can avoid dropping your baggage.

Many experts often make the same mistake: in the spring or winter, they take a warm coat with them. Most of the time they will spend indoors, and between the office, hotel and airport they will travel by taxi. A sweater or jacket will usually save you from the cold for the few minutes you have to spend outside – unless, of course, you are flying to Alaska.

If you are going to a rainy place instead of a coat, it is better to bring a small folding umbrella with you. After putting aside everything that you don't need to take with you, try to find things that you can rotate.

Perhaps in one trip you will visit not only different time zones, but also in different climatic zones. Therefore, choose shirts that are not wrinkled and do not need ironing, and clothes in neutral shades (black or gray). Skirts, trousers and shirts are easy to match.

If you pack wisely, you can fold them into a small travel bag: it should be big enough, but still fit in the luggage compartment above the seats. Dimensions on average, as a rule, are 60x38x25 cm. In most bags on wheels, in addition to the main section, there are several additional compartments for things. Place your toiletries and medicines in clear plastic bags - you will need to show them when you go through security. Instead of a briefcase, bring a large canvas bag like a beach bag. It holds a lot more things than a leather briefcase with thick walls and partitions. In addition, it is much lighter.

If there is a long break between flights or the flight has been postponed, you can go to the business class lounge of your favorite airline. Airline club dues are a worthwhile expense, especially if you travel frequently. Waiting rooms are a quiet, cool and well-lit place to work. You can also have a snack there. Think about which airlines you use more often and join the frequent flyer club. These clubs often make great deals, and some companies pay for their employees' membership. Sometimes credit card operators provide free lounge access in exchange for an annual fee that is automatically debited from the account.

Participate in the frequent flyer programs of various airlines. Even if you only use their services a few times a year, the points for the flights will be added up. With most airlines, you can get elite status by flying 40,000 kilometers a year. Airlines take care of their VIP clients: they organize separate queues during baggage check-in and check, and even board the plane without queuing. Print your boarding pass before arriving at the airport. If you do not have access to a printer, download the ticket to your smartphone. This allows you to avoid the check-in line and head straight to the checkpoint.

* * *

Learn to relax on an airplane

It is best to fly in business class at night. Because only there you can sleep well. If you are tired and unable to work effectively in the morning, why fly anywhere at all?

Why is it more comfortable to sleep in Business Class? There are several reasons. First, there are fewer passengers nearby – fewer people get up, walk around the cabin or make noise. In addition, the chair is wider, more legroom. And most importantly, the seats in the business class recline and take a horizontal position, which directly affects the quality of sleep.

As a rule, the flight lasts no more than 6-7 hours – this is not enough to get enough sleep. Therefore, on the day of the flight, I get up early and eat before departure. Then take your window seat, insert your earplugs, put on your mask, and rest. By this time, as a rule, you will already be quite tired, even if it is still only six in the evening, because you woke up early. If the recommendations are followed correctly, you can get 5-6 hours of sleep during the flight. If the flight lasts longer, you have enough time to eat and sleep.

It is extremely difficult to sleep at an altitude of 10 km, so do not aggravate the situation with alcohol. Remember that alcohol and caffeine make dehydration worse. Try to drink water or juice. Low humidity in the cabin – about 10-20% – leads to dehydration, which causes a breakdown and deterioration of brain activity. Drinks are infrequently served on the plane, so bring a bottle of water with you. You won't be able to carry a large bottle through the checkpoint, but you can always buy water (or fill a container) on the other side of the checkpoint.

* * *

Observe the regime even on the road

If you are far from home, stick to your usual routine anyway. Check your calendar before bed, get at least eight hours of rest every night, indulge in a light breakfast, and exercise regularly if possible, although this can be tricky when traveling. You may have to attend lunches and dinners, which offer food for all tastes. In order not to sound impolite, try a little of everything. Try not to overuse greasy desserts at the end of the evening – they will cause heaviness in the stomach and prevent you from falling asleep.

If you don't like the late events that are traditional in the business culture of many countries, try to leave early, citing jet lag or an early teleconference. The party will continue without you, and you will sleep well and feel more confident and cheerful the next day.

During the day, you will often experience the effects of jet lag. This is a problem for all travelers, so learning how to deal with it is very important. Unfortunately, you can't get used to jet lag, even if you fly frequently. Research shows that pilots also suffer from this ailment. However, the syndrome can still be stopped.

* * *

How to avoid jet lag

The essence of this syndrome is as follows. Your circadian rhythm (or biological clock) regulates the time you want to sleep (night) and the time you are awake (day). Your biological clock is sensitive, but not immediately, to light. And this is good - otherwise it would be impossible to fall asleep after you turned on the light, having risen to the child at night. But this is what causes jet lag: even though the sun rises, your body thinks it's actually only three in the morning. If no action is taken, it will take the body about a day to adapt to the one hour difference.

One of the well-studied regulators of the biological clock is melatonin. At night, the glands in your brain release more of this hormone, helping you fall asleep. Some people think that taking melatonin at a certain point (say, a few hours before sunset, if you intend to move east) will help the body adapt faster. But so far, research findings on the effects of melatonin on jet lag are inconclusive. Perhaps he will help you fall asleep; but it is not known whether he will "translate" your biological clock or not.

If you don't like medication, start the adaptation process on the day of your trip. For example, wake up and eat according to the time of the city you are flying to.

However, even these rules will not always keep you awake all day after an overnight flight. Try not to fall asleep, however. A short nap will not hurt - even be beneficial - if you plan on working late. But remember to set your alarm to go off after 30 minutes and try to get up. Sleeping during the day and then unable to rest at night will make it harder to adapt to your new time zone.

Go to the pool if possible. Swimming helps to invigorate and rejuvenate. Go jogging or on a stationary bike at your hotel. If the hotel does not have a gym or pool, you can take a warm shower. Your body temperature will rise, blood will circulate faster throughout the body, and you will wake up. Coffee is a good option if you drink it regularly. The main thing is not to fall asleep during the day.

* * *

Keep in touch with your family

For many people, the main problem in a business trip is not inspection, not changing time zones, or even preparation, but the need to be away from family. This problem cannot be easily solved: nothing can replace communication with family. However, there are ways to reduce the impact of travel on you and your family. The negative impact of long trips on the relationship of spouses has been proven for a long time.

One of the problems is the lack of daily contact between parent and child. Young children do not understand why dad or mom often leave. Children are afraid that mom or dad will not return. To make the child less worried about this, the parent staying at home should participate in all conversations and on behalf of the absent person. You can discuss with your child where dad or mom is today and what he is doing. If your family is religious, you can pray together for an absent parent.

In addition, a spouse who stays at home often works for two: washing, preparing food, cleaning and raising children. But you can help him by finishing as many household chores as possible before leaving: take your clothes to the dry cleaner, go to the store to replenish stocks, and pay the bills. You will have to plan your time in such a way as to have time to finish all the cases.

After a long absence, it is difficult to adapt to home - for several days they felt uncomfortable at home. One way to solve this problem is to try to come back closer to the weekend whenever possible. Then you have a day or two left to adapt to your home and spend time with your family, rather than go straight to work.

Buy souvenirs so that your family knows: even during business trips, you always think about them. Souvenirs are inexpensive and don't take up much space. If you don't have time to purchase them before arriving at the airport, go to Duty Free.

If you are leaving for a long time, be sure to call your family every day. Even on a busy schedule, there is always 10 minutes to chat with your spouse and children on the phone. Video chats are available to almost everyone; Skype is a free service that only needs a good internet connection. In addition, many smartphones also have a video calling function.

Of course, a video call is not a substitute for communicating with your family. If your job involves traveling more than 100 days a year, you are unlikely to last long. After a few years, it will become clear that this mode of operation is not for you.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

And find out about our new promotions, hotels, last minute tours, the best deals of the week!