In 2020, after the implementation of the restrictions on Covid-19, travel drastically decreased both globally and in the US as well, with business travel dropping by 90 percent at the lowest point of the year. In the present, as increasing numbers of workers are returning to work working, travel for work is returning. However, there aren’t always clean and clear. As a coach for time management, I’ve witnessed that returning to work travel is just as disorienting after an absence of two years as the sudden transition into completely remote work was. My clients have to be aware of how to pack their bags efficiently and adapt to the changes in time zones and adjust their schedules for meetings as they’re currently working from a different location.
Some strategies can be employed to ease the transition back into business travel, and that includes applying the knowledge you’ve gained during your time working remotely. Here are four strategies to make the most of your energy and time when you prepare for your next business trip.
Evaluate the Benefit
When you’re planning to incorporate travel back into your schedule, be sure to think about the areas where you think it will bring the most benefit. What areas did you feel that you didn’t get the same results when working remotely, which could be improved by face-to-face interactions? Some of my clients mention that there are a few areas in which they’ve seen benefits in returning to travel are:
Teams gather to discuss strategies.
Visits to international sites of work to help facilitate the exchange of ideas across language and cultural barriers
- Land deals and sales negotiations
- Networking events at conferences
Considering your specific role and responsibilities, consider which areas you believe will bring the most value. Make sure you consider the degree of restrictions applicable to your destination as well. If a face-to-face meeting is beneficial, it might be sensible for your coworkers or clients to visit you due to stark divergences in the travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and Covid levels of risk across the world.
Right Size the Investment
While you’re able to integrate some more travel for business into your strategy to be successful in your career, you should consider whether the travel you used to undertake before 2020 must be included. For instance, perhaps you used to visit clients in person every quarter. Perhaps now you can adopt a hybrid strategy of having two visits to the client in person and making two visits online every year. When making this choice take a look back at the last year and a quarter: Do you encounter greater issues or lower sales due to not being able to meet personally with specific customers? These are the ones you may want to devote more time with them. However, ask yourself: have any of your client relationships remained the same or grown by using virtual interaction? If so, you might want to consider making more of your interactions virtual.
It’s also possible to use the same approach when evaluating the events or conferences. Suppose you observed that you were losing the number of sales opportunities or missed other crucial connections because certain events were either in virtual form or not occurring in any way. In that case, you should consider attending them once they’re present in person for the second time. If, however, you noticed no change in your professional performance due to the absence of other in-person occasions, think about continuing to participate in virtual events or eliminating them from your schedule.
Every time you cut a trip from your calendar offers enormous time savings both personally and professionally.
One observation that many of my clients who I coach are aware of is that traveling is exhausting them more often than it used to. Much like how people have lost the ability to get to work without difficulty, People have also lost their acclimatization regarding preparing for and going in a place. My clients have complained of needing to remember how to pack their bags efficiently and have experienced greater difficulty in overcoming jet lag as they adjust to staying in hotels and think about the best way to run personal tasks when they’re back home less frequently than they were before.
As a result, take your time and pace yourself as much as is possible. If you’re someone who frequently travels throughout the month, try just one trip per 30 days to see the way you’re feeling. If you’re feeling good with regards to energy and time and energy, you may want to put it on your schedule. I’ve worked with several clients who found that returning to their levels before the onset of travel speed too quickly made them exhausted. Reintroduce trips slowly to avoid this problem.
Inform your boss of why you wish to increase your travel schedule in the future instead of taking on the full load immediately. Consider the mixed approach many businesses are adopting in returning to work. In the same way that many businesses begin with two to three days before transitioning to an all-in-person working environment, you’d like to begin with a smaller travel schedule before beginning. Additionally, as many companies are still operating with a large portion of their workforce who work remotely, you could discuss any clients or contacts you aren’t allowed to meet in person even if your boss thinks it would be more beneficial.
Leave Margin — and Double Check Everything
Due to the drastic changes in travel restrictions in the last two years, travelers, specifically airlines, have experienced problems with operation and staffing. If you’re going to be taking business travel plans, make sure you have an extra amount of time than you were too. For instance, you could schedule your flight to depart for the night before the event instead of taking an early flight in the event of last-minute cancellations. Consider alternative methods of transportation, like trains or buses.
In the same way that you should double-check whether or not a place is open and accessible to you after you return to work, you should make the same check in the case of travel. In airports, more lounges and restaurants are now open, though certain ones remain closed. In terms of rides, it might be more difficult or expensive to locate an Uber or other option than earlier. While travel demand continues to increase, however, the labor shortage can make this an ongoing problem. The shortage of microchips has caused car rentals to become more difficult as I have of a couple who arrived at the airport, and no rental vehicle was at the airport. In light of these shifts from the norm, take food items with you, make reservations ahead of time and make sure you are flexible. Also, you’ll need to know about any specific Covid travel restrictions for your location or your employer. Do you have to pass the Covid test, give details on your vaccination status or quarantine for a specific number of days, or adhere to any other guidelines? Contact HR to learn more about your particular organization’s guidelines.
Traveling for business has its huge advantages in making connections, making agreements, and forming strong teams. However, as the world opens, it is important to consider other things when evaluating the time and energy required for business travel. Have fun and spend your time on travel carefully.