As travel gets easier and technology more portable, employees across industries are hitting the road for work. And whether it’s because they’re trying to squeeze in work and downtime or because they’re booked with countless meetings, productivity on the road is paramount.
These battle-tested tips can help make sure you’re getting work done while on the move.
There are lots of travel hacks out there, but there’s no magic bullet to make up for the reality that travel is inherently time-consuming, on top of tiring and stressful on your body. As a result, one key to productivity is simply not to overload yourself. First, outline what must get done while on the trip, break those projects into actionable items, then organize your to-do list by day.
2. Get Better Sleep on the Plane.
Depending on where you are traveling and at what point in the day your flight is, they key to offsetting some of that exhaustion might be catching some shut-eye on the plane. If the flight is during normal sleep hours as measured by the time zone of your destination city, splurging on some extra legroom in order to get some rest on-board is a worthwhile investment. If that’s not in the budget, be sure to opt for a window seat. Bring a pillow, comfortable clothes, and sound-blocking headphones. Also, be sure to keep your buckle visible — strapped over your blanket perhaps — so you don’t get woken up by flight attendants following safety guidelines.
3. Stay Connected.
If the flight is not during normal sleep hours for the destination city, it can be beneficial to avoid falling asleep on the plane and to instead get some work done. In such an instance, narrow your workload down to three specific tasks for the flight and only bring relevant materials in your carry-on to stay focused.
Similarly, make sure you are connected. Virgin America offers hourly, flight-long and monthly Gogo wi-fi on-board, for example, while more frequent travelers can also purchase a multi-airline pass for just under $60 a month. Meanwhile, JetBlue is working to offer complimentary wi-fi on all flights — a feature that’s expected in 2016.
Do your research before you book; most airlines provide information about wi-fi accessibility and pricing on their websites. And if it’s not easy to find, a quick call to customer service will do the trick to ensure you’re not stranding on-board and off-line.
4. Invest in a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot.
You’ll likely need to work after your flight as well, though. While confirming wi-fi is offered at the hotel, its conference rooms, and other meeting spaces is smart, a portable wi-fi device may still be worth buying and bringing along. Hotel wi-fi can be spotty, especially at conferences, while a portable device like Karma can also ensure you are ready to work during any unexpected downtime on the trip.
5. Work from the Cloud.
The ability to work from anywhere during a trip is further enabled if your documents and key software offerings are in the cloud. Google Docs is a great place to start since you can upload existing files and then access them from any device, anywhere with an Internet connection. And unlike more substantial cloud transitions, the use of Google Docs while on-the-go doesn’t necessarily need to be company-wide or permanent.
6. Schedule Strategically.
Since business travel often revolves around meetings, be cognizant about spacing out different ones in different parts of the destination city. To prevent added stress, leave a substantial buffer between each meeting, especially since you should be prepared to work from just about anywhere and can make the most of those early minutes. And for some simple streamlining, try to book as many as possible over meals. Everyone has to eat anyway.
By prioritizing what needs to get done on the road, being smart about how it gets done, and getting all the right technology lined up, business trips can be just as productive as weeks in the office. All it takes is a little preparation and strategy.
(This post was posted by Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on January 6th 2016.)