Travelling for work can be a rewarding exercise, for both you and your business, but it can often be difficult to manage the demands of responsibilities away from the office with those in the office. Unfortunately the work doesn't stop when you leave your desk. The key to easing this pressures is perfecting the art of professional communication and these three top tips can help you do just that ...
As with most things in life, planning ahead of time is a great place to start. While you're setting your schedule for your time on the road, make sure to keep your team, colleagues and/or supervisors in the loop. Ensure that everyone is aware of where you will be and what you will be doing. This provides a clearer picture for when you might be available should anything come up.
Another key to managing expectations is clarifying situations in which it is appropriate to contact you when you're not at your desk. If you need to be across all work while you're gone, let everyone know they're free to shoot you an email or text about anything that comes up. If you only need to be across high level items or urgent items only, let everyone know this is the case and what is appropriate to send through. Clear guidelines will reduce any chance of miscommunications and misunderstandings.
Bonus Tip: Send your itinerary to those who need to know. It can act as a guide on appropriate times to contact you.
Going hand in hand with managing expectations, it's important to set limits on when you can be available. It's important to avoid cutting yourself off completely from office communications. The key is to be available frequently but not constantly. Let your colleagues know when you will definitely be out of touch due to meetings or commitments. Clearly communicating this information assists in managing expectations, while helping avoid any surprises.
It's also important to set limits when it comes to your time and workload. If you're new to the business and/or business travel game, it can be tempting to take on as much as possible in an effort to demonstrate your skills and capabilities. Avoid this at all costs. The pressures that come with frequent business travel are real and should be taken seriously. Overloading yourself with work is a sure fire way to burn out and make everything harder on yourself. Plan out your schedule in advance (if possible) and thoughtfully consider what tasks you might be able to slot in.
Bonus Tip: Include segments of time in which you will be available for contact in your 'out of office' email response.
Certainly one of the benefits of technology is its capability to connect people no matter where they happen to be in the world. It probably goes without saying that this can be harnessed to ease any communication stresses when you're not in the office. Just ensure you use it wisely. Consider your communication and choose the appropriate means to respond. For example, if you need to handle an urgent situation, a phone call would be more appropriate than an email or text message.
Bonus Tip: Consider the number of apps available to assist in organisation and communication, particularly for business travellers. From FaceTime and Skype to Google Hangout, there are plenty of tools available.