Most business travellers will tell you that productivity takes a backseat when travelling for work. Fatigue, jet lag and long wait times all take their toll, making it more difficult for road warriors to remain focussed and plugged-in while on-the-go.
We chatted to Pearl Mucabel, Key Account Manager for Flight Centre Business Travel about her top travel hacks to overcome the most common productivity killers on the road.
1. Spending long hours organising your trip
Did you know that the average traveller visits around 38 websites before booking a trip? Business travellers also read an average of five reviews before booking, which in itself is estimated to take approximately 45 minutes.
“Time spent on organising your own trip is a huge productivity waster,” says Mucabel. What’s more is that research done by Flight Centre Business Travel shows that travel arrangements for almost 45% of all business trips are changed at least once. Managing these changes – and the effect they have on every other arrangement made – take a lot of time and can be a nightmare if you’re not a travel expert.
Says Mucabel: “Working with a travel management company cuts out the time investment and allows you to focus on what really matters. Having a dedicated travel manager is like having your own travel personal assistant.”
2. Delays and long waits at the airport
Imagine that you arrive at the airport only to find that your flight has been delayed by more than four hours. Panic sets in as the delay means you will no doubt arrive late to your client’s meeting.
When delays occur, reliable and real-time information is key to mitigate any possible knock-on effects on your productivity, says Mucabel.
If you are faced with an unexpected window of time at the airport, Mucabel advises the airport lounge can become your new productivity hub – or your relaxation oasis. Business lounges vary in their offering. In the swankier lounges, expect spa treatments, comfortable beds, and a chauffeur drive to your plane in a luxury car, but at the very least you’ll find comfortable seating, clean rest rooms, steady Wi-Fi, and complimentary snacks and drinks.
3. No reliable Wi-Fi
Who has never balanced on one leg in the corner of a room trying to get cell phone signal to download that important e-mail?
The absence of reliable Wi-Fi is the biggest productivity killer for any business traveller, research has shown. What’s more is that in 2011 the United Nations declared that access to the Internet was a human right and that limiting a person’s access is a violation on their human rights under international law.
While struggling to find a fast Wi-Fi service during a business trip is probably more of an issue of convenience rather than a human rights violation, it is important to ensure that your chosen accommodation ensures reliable Wi-Fi.
A 2016 survey from English hotelier Roomzzz found that 65% of hotel guests go online within seven minutes of checking in and one third requested the hotel Wi-Fi password as soon as they arrived. A Statista survey of personal and business travellers, conducted in the United States in 2017, revealed that 80% of hotel guests rated internet access as the most crucial hotel service.
Mucabel explains that programmes such as FCBT’s SmartStay will ensure that business travellers have access to free Wi-Fi as well as other perks that could improve productivity such as a healthy breakfast or early check-ins.
4. Trying to fit too much into a hectic schedule
Business travellers are often faced with a very full and tight agenda, leaving precious little time to relax. It is however crucial to take some personal down-time, as low energy, jetlag and stress are all ‘hidden’ productivity killers.
Taking a break and doing something that’s completely non-work related could help you to be at the top of your game during business meetings. Taking a brisk walk outside to explore the city could just mitigate the effect of jetlag, while a relaxing massage and a swim in the pool will go a long way in helping you feel more relaxed.
Mucabel explains that taking the family along and extend your business trip by a few days for leisure purposes can be a great productivity booster.
Turn to your Travel Management Company to know what’s available to make your business trip a little easier, and more productive. Visit www.fcbt.co.za for tips on how to make the most of your business travels.