How tech can help you stay ahead of work while travelling for business
Frequent travel can teach executives more about prioritising than business school, and technology can make it easy to stay on top of the most important work while on the move
Short of time?
Messaging apps and collaboration tools might make it easier to work with teams in different offices and across time zones, but the value of a face-to-face meeting hasn’t diminished.
Today’s execs still prioritise in-person meetings with customers, investors and even journalists, which is why they’re often on the move - sometimes traveling from one end of the world to another, several times each year.
Business leaders and frequent flyers need to learn how to effectively prioritise tasks and manage their time in order to keep up with their everyday responsibilities. The following tips will allow them to stay on top of work while on the move:
Make the most of travel time
Taking full advantage of time in the air, on a train or any other form of transportation is essential to successful business travel. It will give execs the opportunity to handle things they wouldn’t usually get to when jumping from meeting to meeting in the office.
A six-hour flight can provide the window they need to go through emails that have been in their inbox for weeks, read reports, write performance reviews, or examine financial models - all of which can be hidden behind a privacy screen.
It helps that many airlines and rail services offer Wi-Fi, but if there’s a chance they could be offline while in transit, execs should download a local copy of the documents they willl need to ensure their travel time is productive.
Keep everything in a calendar
Keeping their calendar meticulously up-to-date with details and setting up alerts ensures that execs are on time and prepared for all of their scheduled engagements. This is why they should include absolutely everything in their calendar, from meetings, lunch breaks and flights to the time it will take them to get through security and prep time. Execs can plan their exercise regimen ahead of time as well.
To be even more efficient, they can take this a step further and not only ensure their pre-breakfast run is on the calendar, but also include a potential route and weather forecast so they can pack appropriately. No one would want to pack shorts and a t-shirt for a winter jog through Hyde Park!
Prepare meetings ahead of time
Before even leaving, execs should make sure a prep meeting is on their calendar with their full team. That way, if they are visiting a customer, their sales and customer success teams can put together detailed documents on the customer's implementation and if they've run into any issues along the way - and can give clear objectives for the meeting. All relevant information should be included in these prep documents so execs can prepare while on the move and be ready to discuss when they arrive.
Increasingly, today’s businessmen and women are using tools like Slack (one of the fastest growing apps in Okta’s network in 2015) and HipChat to communicate with their teams on a regular basis. But often that’s not enough.
Especially while they are away, keeping their regularly scheduled one-on-ones will ensure they stay connected to the office. Execs can set aside time aside at the beginning of the week to plan their schedule and make adjustments while they are traveling so that their one-on-ones with other execs and direct reports happen, no matter what.
This could mean execs might have to shorten or move meetings, and be willing to jump on the phone, Skype or FaceTime at the crack of dawn if that's what works best.
Stay on track with running lists and productivity apps
Another way to ensure execs keep on top of things is to keep a running list of everything going on back at the office while they are on the road. This will help them map out priorities and tasks to check in on when they return.
Whether they like keeping your notes in Evernote or prefer putting pen to paper, making a list will keep execs aware of what their team is working on, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Gain a fresh perspective on work
While travel can be trying and stressful, it can also be refreshing. Spending a few days away from the office will enable businessmen and women to gain a bit more of an external perspective and think about things differently.
They should make sure to brainstorm new ideas while traveling and take advantage of having some space for themselves to come up with fresh perspectives. By making the most of their time, both execs and their company can benefit from their travels.
Sourced from Frederic Kerrest, COO and Co-Founder, Okta