No one would ever claim that business travel is loads of fun, and much of that is because road warriors often get frustrated trying to stay productive while away from the office. No matter their good intentions, it seems delayed flights, overbooked hotels, noisy surroundings and bad connections undermine them.
But with savvier planning, anyone can become more productive – and less stressed – while on the road.
For example, some travelers say they find it a lot less stressful to stay at the same hotel chain – or even the same hotel if they’re often traveling to the same destination. That familiarity cannot only ease the stress of trying to learn new surroundings, but can also garner some perks from hotels.
For example, extended stay hotels like the Hyatt House offer evening socials to help their frequent business guests network, providing the food and drinks within the hotel. All you have to do is show up and add some key business contacts to your contact list.
In addition, many hotel chains offer reward programs that allow you to accrue points. This can not only add up for some free stays during your down time, but can increase the chances of getting a room – a decent room – when bookings are tight or you show up late because you circled Atlanta for three hours. Such chains also track your needs, such as a preference for a quieter room away from the elevator and ice machine, which can mean you will be more productive when working in your room.
If you’re staying at an unfamiliar hotel, always inquire about the business center and its hours of operations. Before heading to your room, check out the center to see if it will meet your needs, or if the printer has an “out of order” sign on it. In that case, it’s worth asking the hotel to recommend a nearby Kinko’s.
Once you reach your room, immediately put away your personal items so unpacking won’t interfere with your work later. (An organized room also helps you avoid time-wasters such as searching for your socks instead of going over your notes for a big presentation.) Next, set up an area that will be just for work, such as at the desk or table. Begin charging your laptop and phone and put out writing pads, pens, etc. Vow to keep the television off while working.
Here are some other ways to stay productive while on the road:
- Do some prep work: It takes a little time, but it’s worth it to sync your calendars on your devices. Also, sites like GateGuru can help you keep track of changing gate assignments, security-line wait times or layover time adjustments. It also will list amenities in an airport, helping you to quickly locate a healthy meal or snack to keep you focused and energized.
- Stay connected: Consider a MiFi device or Karma, (read more here)
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