Travelling for work can be a major perk of the business world – you get to visit new cities and stay in nice hotels, all on the company’s dime. However, the glamour of business travel comes with much responsibility since you are representing your company and not on holiday. If it’s your first time jetting off for business, here’s what you need to know:
1. Pay attention to your company’s travel policy
Any company that is serious about travel will have established rules to govern its employees, and these are in place for a reason. Be sure to review the regulations, and to clarify your questions you may have doubts expense policies, insurance coverage, and any other expectations, so that you make the most out of your trip.
2. Stay organised
Firstly, make a list of what you need to pack – from travel adaptors to charge your laptop to important documents like your passport and visa. Next, download any apps that you’ll need to communicate with your support system back home effectively. Lastly, schedule your meetings and commitments carefully. Take note of flight times, any timezone differences, and commute times so that you can line up meetings and manage them appropriately. By doing so, you’ll also be able to take advantage of any odd hours or days to snatch for yourself to do some exploring!
3. Understand the country’s cultural etiquette
A common mistake many business travellers make is to neglect the importance of social customs overseas. Every country is different and has a particular business etiquette. While some misunderstandings may be amusing, others can seriously impact your professional relationship. For example, when visiting someone else’s office in Japan, you should wait until the host offers you to sit down before you actually do. Knowing such nuances beforehand can prevent you from embarrassing yourself or leaving a bad impression, and will allow you to network effectively.
4. Have a plan, but be flexible
Your trip will be productive if you have a clear goal in mind and you have scheduled all meetings and events. However, not matter how perfect your plan may seem, things may go wrong. Be prepared to work around obstacles like flight delays, rescheduled meetings or jet lag. Do your best to keep your days as open as possible so you have sufficient availability for any last-minute changes.
5. Pamper yourself occasionally
Travelling overseas may seem like an exciting, adventurous proposition, but it can be stressful and daunting to work away from home in foreign surroundings. If you are away for an extended period of time, find time to treat yourself to a relaxing massage, a nice meal or a sightseeing tour. The kinder you are to yourself, the better your mental state will be to make your business trip a fruitful one.