Traveling: The mad rush out the door hoping you’ve remembered everything from your computer to the plane tickets. Off to the airport, through security, and then as often as not, begins the big “wait.” Waiting in a terminal for a late plane to arrive. Sitting for unending hours on the actual aircraft doing absolutely nothing.
And for the business traveler, as often as not, waiting around a hotel room before being called off to action. Any frequent traveler soon learns that one can end up with unending hours of unexpected free time.
Business Travel: Does it Have to Be Wasted Time?
According to statistics from the United States Department of Transportation, during the month of September 2014, over 17% of all large carrier-operated flights experienced delays for some reason. This results in time often leaving the wayward traveler sitting in an airport concourse counting down the minutes and hours.
While there are always a bevy of restaurants and bars in which the bored or lonely traveler can fritter away the hours, the question becomes not simply how one can kill the time.
The question becomes how you can make optimum use of those unexpected blocks of “emptiness.” For this purpose, Decoded Business asked multiple business travelers the simple question, “How do you keep productivity to a maximum during downtime on a business trip?”
Joel Levi: Productivity Starts at Home
Joel Levi, Senior Relationship Manager at HSA Bank replied: “I think productivity on the road begins before you even leave. You need to have everything organized before you go on your trip to minimize wasted time. I’m a big believer in using technology to organize your trip and meetings so that everything you need is at the tip of your finger.
“I use Tripit to organize all my travel plans in one place and it will notify me of any plane delays. I map out every location I need on Google Maps prior to the trip so I know everywhere I need to be and how long it will take me to get there. If I’m not renting a car, I use Uber for on demand car service so I’m not wasting time waiting for a cab.
“As for downtime, I utilize my tablet a lot to stay productive. I use it for note taking, it has my calendar of events, and I can check my work email. Basically it’s my office on the road. I set aside 30 minutes at the end of each day to write out a brief recap on my tablet of every meeting and action item while it’s fresh in my mind. I can organize the notes by date so I can easily access my meeting notes for a specific date and any time.”
As a frequent traveler Mr. Levi knows that while downtime may be inevitable, the key to trip productivity is having things lined up and planned out well in advance.
Julian Paxton: Flexibility is Key
The next person we spoke with, Julian Paxton of Techemet in Pasadena, Texas, responded in kind: “I usually bring an iPad as well as a laptop because the iPad has both wireless and 3g. It is able to operate on the internet in any area when the laptop will not because it has to log onto a wireless signal. This allows me to look up potential customers that may be located in the surrounding area.”
Chris Kearsley: Make the Most of Airline Wifi
With offices and employees in multiple countries across the globe, Executive VP, Director of R&D at InfinityQS International Inc. and Owner of InfinityQS, Chris Kearsley is no stranger to travel. While only a few years ago the business traveler aboard an airplane might be stuck making small-talk with the traveler in the next seat, Mr. Kearsley notes there is now the opportunity to make use of today’s dependable airline wifi: “Today’s airline wifi is great for realtime interaction with my staff. It gives me time to catch up on business related articles I wouldn’t normally read while in the office.”
Pete Silva: Research and Relaxation
The last business traveler we asked was Pete Silva of Pacific Iron and Metal in Seattle, Washington. In addition to his laptop “to research potential business in the area,” he said there was one other constant necessity: He says he absolutely “has to have his golf clubs.”
As the Boy Scouts Say
A recap of what each of these gentlemen said might be summed up with the old Boy Scout Motto, “Be Prepared.” When leaving the house it is imperative to know everywhere one needs to be, how long it ought to take, and have notes and supplies ready.
In the event of the unforeseen downtime, be sure to carry the ever useful tablet! Whether utilizing the airline wifi or bouncing the iPad off a 3g signal it has become many a travelers “office on the go.” And lest we laugh too loudly at the executive carrying the golf clubs, what better way to spend time chatting or negotiating with a prospective client than walking through the fairways on a sunny afternoon?