Travelling for business sounds glamorous, but it presents plenty of challenges when it comes to maintaining your productivity in unfamiliar spaces and across different time zones. Planning, scheduling and being firm with yourself aren’t probably part of your regular travel agenda – but things are different when it comes to making working on the road a little less stressful.
Anyone who travels regularly for work has their own set of tips and tricks for packing light, beating airport check-in queues or scoring upgrades – but the most prized assets for any regular digital nomad ae the right mobile tools for the job.
A lightweight laptop and a smart bag to carry it in, are non-negotiables. Nobody wants to lug a 17” behemoth laptop through an airport with a bag strap that cuts into their neck. Think thin, light and smart – there are plenty of laptop options out there that make life a breeze for working on the road. Staying connected is vital and free WiFi hotspots are often just too much of a security risk. A portable hotspot with a local data SIM card can be a lifesaver – whether you’re on a conference call, checking in for your next flight on the go or updating a presentation for your team.
You’ll be nowhere without battery power, so make sure your laptop is charged and carry a power bank to keep your phone and other digital devices online. And pick up a travel multi-plug while you’re at it – there are few things more frustrating than finding an available power outlet and then not being able to use it!
Balance Work and Play
It’s great to be able to carve out some time to explore your destination when you’re travelling for work, but it’s important to remember that you’re not on holiday. Burning the candle at both ends will mean you’re bound to drop a ball at some point, so make life easy for yourself.
Stick to your schedule, make sure your accommodation or your working environment have touches that make you feel at home and that you get enough sleep to allow you to both stay on top of work and enjoy the benefits of being able to explore your temporary destination. On a multi-city work trip? Try to plan your travel for weekdays so you have some time to explore on the weekends.
Travelling smart also means having all the options at your fingertips to help you make quick decisions and easy changes. KLM’s BlueBiz offers the rare opportunity to earn both personal FlyingBlue miles on Air France, KLM and partner airlines as well as points towards company travel. Free name changes, guaranteed Economy Class seats on long-haul flights, access to online business communities and priority ground and on-board perks are all part of the free package that help make business travel that much more rewarding.
Tame Time Zones
Operating remotely in a different time zone only works against you if you haven’t planned for it. You know in advance that there’ll be a difference between your online hours and those of colleagues back home, so make sure you ‘plan smart’ to schedule meetings and calls at a mutually-convenient time.
If you’re travelling somewhere where you’ll be ahead of your colleagues, start work early and you’ll have a head start on your emails before they arrive at the office. It’ll also give you more time during your day for meetings in your location – or perhaps even a bit of exploring. Travelling to a vastly different time zone, half a day ahead or behind? Work smart and you’ll have plenty of time to mix work and play, where you are.
You wouldn’t allow your schedule to become an accident scene, so why do it when you’re travelling. Time zones apart, you also have a different commute, possible travel delays if you’re heading to different locations and also need to factor in check in/out times and transfers. While you can probably catch up on some mails in an Uber to the airport, you don’t want to have to juggle a call while you’re checking out of your hotel or standing in a queue to board a flight.
Sticking to a regular work schedule (as far as possible) will also help you maintain your productivity levels and give you a fair chance to get some down time, too.