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The secret to productive business trips: Making it business, mostly

Jan 25, 2018
The secret to productive business trips: Making it business, mostly

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), business travel spending in South Africa is expected to grow by 1.6% in 2017 to R95.6bn and increase by 2.6% per year to R123.6bn in 2027.

The latest research from STR Global, global business travel for the hotel sector has reached a value of $488bn dollars in 2016 (about R5.991 trillion), a figure that is only set to grow in the near future.

With the globalised, interconnected nature of businesses today, more people are travelling for work than before. Once considered to be a luxury for a select few, business travel is now an essential norm for many professionals. 

Not always as glamorous at it seems, many business travellers struggle with staying productive, no thanks to packed schedules, jet lag and the body forced to adjust to new environments, which often leave travellers exhausted and stressed.

As businesses spend up to $2,600 per trip (about R31,980), it is imperative that businesses and their employees are optimising every trip, performing at their most productive, to reap the biggest return on investment. 

Unlocking productivity with a perfect blend of business and leisure

The secret to productive business trips is about making each trip about business, mostly. Not to say that what’s on the business agenda isn’t important, but equally important is achieving meaningful downtime, which unlocks greater productivity. It’s about making the trip a perfect blend of business and leisure - today known as "bleisure". Numerous studies have also proven that there are immense benefits to the company and employees when they combine business with leisure. 

Beyond boosting productivity levels, achieving downtime has significant benefits to a person’s physiology, impacting wellness and health. Employees also cited that the assignment becomes more rewarding and helps one cope with the stress of business travel. For employers, it is a prime opportunity to endorse work-life balance and is a good strategy to attract and retain talent. 

So how can your next business trip be mostly business? 

Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts recently partnered with productivity guru, writer and speaker David Grady, to introduce productivity tips and curated city itineraries for business travellers to make their meetings more effective and enjoyable. According to Grady, the key to enjoying meaningful downtime and optimal productivity lies in:

• The ability to unplug to recharge

Very often business travellers attempt to plug into their new environment as a way of settling in by connecting every possible working device to available Wi-Fi. Yet one of the best ways to be productive is to instead disconnect for an allotted amount of time each day, to enjoy a short break for rest and renewal. Schedule a meeting with yourself. Take a short walk around the conference venue or the nearby botanical gardens and explore the destination you’re visiting. 

• Being mostly inspired on business

Instead of meeting at the conference venue, why not do business a little differently while taking the chance to sight-see at the same time? Choose an outdoor location or a landmark to talk business against an inspiring backdrop, to energise and help you stay focus whilst working. 

• Achieving work-life balance

Consider bringing the family along on a business trip to achieve actual ‘work-family balance’ in real-time. Having family accompanying you on a business trip may sound distracting, but if planned right, it can result in a successful business trip both professionally and personally. Check and understand your company policies and play by the rules so that you don’t have to hide the kids under the bed.

Whether the next business trip is a short day-trip or stretches for weeks on end, make downtime as productive as work time, and work time as enjoyable as leisure time.

Image: ©alphaspirit via 123RF