Working on the move – how to keep super-productive when you’re travelling on business
For the business traveller, precious time spent getting from A to B can often feel like precious time that’s being wasted. But when you’re zipping across country, business tasks needn’t grind to a halt.
Thanks to a mix of technology and smart use of downtime you can smash through deadlines, learn new skills – and look after yourself when you’re on the go. So make the world your office. Here are eight no-nonsense tips for getting the most out of business-trip travel time.
Deal with distractions
Noise – from tannoys, traffic, toddlers – doesn’t care about that report you need to complete. You can’t put a stop to most distractions, but you can do your bit to reduce their impact.
On trains, Quiet Carriages are your first port of call. Elsewhere, look out for business lounges in stations and airports. These locations are purpose-built for workers on the move. A decent pair of earplugs will certainly help too – so add these to your business travel toolkit.
Say bye-bye to wi-fi
Airplane Mode isn’t just for… airplanes.
Even if it’s only for an hour or so, grab yourself some gadget-free space. Unshackled from pop-ups and reminders you’ll be more able to concentrate on the task in hand. It’s likely you’ll find yourself working faster and smarter than before too.
Give yourself a break
Yup. This one really is a productivity tip. Nothing compromises quality of work more than burning yourself out.
So when tiredness or frustration kick in, do yourself a favour. Stop. Take some time out. Order up a coffee or head to the buffet car for a well-earned rest. It’s an easy mistake to just keep going and going. Especially if a deadline is looming. But a 15-minute pit-stop will ensure you’re primed for an hour of progress not pain.
Catch a connection
A shade too out-there for some, but for eternal opportunists looking to connect with fellow passengers, Btrfly might be the app for you.
Btrfly sees business travellers sharing flight plans and job details – all with the aim of linking up with similar souls. For game businesspeople, the opportunities that emerge from hooking up with say fellow conference-goers, or those working in your sector, are obvious. And with the technology to coordinate seating arrangements, Btrfly could ensure your next flight is less boredom and more boardroom.
You can catch Btrfly at the Apple and Android stores.
Listen and learn
There’s a vast amount of brilliant – and entertaining – business-related podcasts out there. So why not load up your phone or tablet before hitting the road?
In cars, planes and trains, podcasts can turn seats into seminars – and as well as learning, you’ll find the time between stops zooming by.
The sheer volume of content providers means the bigger, broader areas of business like economics and entrepreneurship are well covered. But have a search also for those episodes relating directly to your industry or sector.
Why not try:
BBC Business Daily Head to the BBC website for a daily download. You’ll be rewarded with a comprehensive round-up of the latest business news, and the impact it’s making worldwide.
Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy These snappy (under 10 minutes) audio docs examine seemingly unremarkable inventions and items – the things that are so much part of our world that we either don’t notice or take for granted. Think: barcodes. Think: IKEA’s Billy bookcases. Think: the TV dinner. Not yet sold? Give it a go. You’ll be quickly drawn in.
Freakonomics Challenging your assumptions and telling you things you didn’t know you didn’t know, Freakonomics leaps beyond the obvious. A compelling, eclectic listen every time.
Apprendre une langue
On a similar theme, when you’re on the hop you can also learn a new language – a standout on any CV. Apps make it easy to grab chunks of learning time, so they’re ideal for those of us on the move.
New to the game? The hugely popular Duolingo app is available for both Apple and Android. It’s a great place to start and covers speaking, reading, writing and listening across an expanding roster of languages.
Worthy of a lateral shout-out also is News in Slow: listen to the latest news in French, Italian, Spanish or German. Content is paced for learners and, brilliantly, understanding is aided by your own knowledge of ultra-current affairs.
Command your kit
Lugging computers around is a well-known headache for any business traveller. Packing essential kit compromises space, weight and risk.
One solution that will keep you productive – and lessen the load – is to use a remote desktop tool. These clever innovations will give travel-friendly laptops and tablets complete access to those bigger, more powerful computers left back in the office or at home.
In this field, there is a lot of choice out there. As you’d expect, Apple, Google and Microsoft are in on it, but it’s worth researching your options to find the tool that’s right for you.
Make yourself at home
When the travelling is over for the day, it’s important to find a time and a place to relax. Here, choosing an apartment over a hotel really pays off. A well-designed, well-located and thoughtfully laid-out apartment will aid relaxation in a way that business hotels will struggle to match. At Dreamhouse we’ve made sure that every one of our fully serviced apartments provides space, privacy and a comfortable home away from home.