Five things successful people do when traveling

We’ve lost count of the number of books and articles we’ve read about the ways in which successful people live their lives. But what special habits do business leaders have ‘on the road’? And how can we learn from them?

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1. Turn downtime into ‘my time’ Travelling leaves you with a lot of time that can feel wasted. Successful people use it to tackle tasks that are difficult to fit into a demanding daily routine. For instance, Apple’s Tim Cook talks about the need to get on top of your inbox before it gets on top of you. That’s a perfect job when you’re waiting for your flight to be called.

2. Turn the tables When we’re not at home it can be easy to let events take control. Successful business travellers work the other way around. Follow their example and create a routine that lets you use time the way you want to. So if your hotel has a happy hour every night, build that into your routine, and use it to network. Or if you’re in a culture where everyone takes a long break in the middle of the day, use that time to catch up with what’s going on at home.

3. Turn time to your advantage If you’re in a different time zone from home, then you could have a golden opportunity to deal with any topics you need to before the home team is even out of bed. And if you’re travelling a long way, use the journey to catch up on your sleep. Then you’ll be ready for any challenge, as soon as you hit the ground.

4. Turn on, don’t just turn up Create the circumstances you need to perform at your best wherever you are. Don’t set yourself lower standards just because you’re away from home. Nobody would willingly stay in a ‘bad hotel’. But around 56 per cent of business travellers worry that they eat ‘bad food’ when travelling. Don’t’ do it. And remember to exercise. President Obama always goes for a run first thing in the morning, no matter where he is. (And he really is a busy man.)

5. Turn the rest of the world off You can be sure that Marissa Mayer isn’t woken up in the middle of the night by an all-office email. So get yourself a proper alarm clock, turn all your devices off at bedtime, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. It’s amazing what you can do when you’ve turned the world off. A huge number of business leaders use their travelling time to consider the really big strategic challenges they are facing. It’s the only time they can concentrate.

What’s the one thing no business traveler can be without?

Today’s business travelers expect to slip seamlessly between cities, countries and even continents. But what are the absolute essentials without which business on the move would completely collapse? We’ve been searching for the most important items for the business traveler, and we’ve come up with the following five. 

1. Wi-Fi In every piece of research we have commissioned or read, easy access to the Internet comes top of the business traveler’s list. Indeed, quality of Internet access and ease of using it is becoming the key one factor that determines which hotel these travelers stay in – and even which airport they fly from – on business.

2. A quiet space to work in The internet may be high-tech, but the second most important item for business travelers is as old as travel itself: a quiet chair and table to work. According to research businessmen and women value lounge space so highly that they would even be prepared to pay for it themselves. The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs also found that 36 per cent of people from Generations X and Y say they prefer to work in the lounge, rather than in a private room, as opposed to just 17 per cent of older people.

3. Something to drink We all work better when we’re hydrated, especially when we’re on the move and hopping in and out of planes, trains and automobiles. But a growing number of us have also come to depend on a ready source of hot drinks – coffee and tea – to keep us going through the day. So it’s hardly a surprise that knowing where they can find a decent café comes high up on so many business travellers’ lists.

4. A printer that works Even in our increasingly paper-free world, there comes a time when we all ‘need a hard copy’ of whatever it is we’re working on. A PDF just doesn’t have the same magic as a beautiful piece of paper. And it’s an awful lot harder to sign. So every business traveler needs a place to print things out – confidentially.

5. A private place: It’s amazing how much you can achieve in the ‘third space’ when you’re travelling on business. Even so, there are still times when we need somewhere discreet to talk. Travelers cite price negotiations, feedback sessions and even presentations as stages that can only be properly handled in private.

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Use the comment section below to let us know what you think.

The 7 habits of highly effective remote workers 

Our new report Managing at arm’s length shows that almost 50% of professionals across the globe now work remotely for half of their working week. It’s become the norm to collaborate with co-workers who you have never met face-to-face.

Here are 7 methods to make a remote team more productive:

1. Check in with everyone multiple times per day

Wherever your team are, daily meetings can keep you united and working towards one goal. You must make sure your manager, and other team members, trust in and understand what you’re doing.

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2. Use technology to build trust

Try keeping a group chat window or webcam stream open all day. It helps your team to discuss as they would if they were working side-by-side, asking questions or opening ideas up to the floor. Alternatively, an automated micro-reporting system allows everyone to share small progressions – when one person finishes a task, the group gets an alert. This keeps everyone in the loop, and lets them benchmark their own productivity against their peers’.

3. Give every team member the opportunity to use professional workspace

Everyone needs a quiet, calm workspace, which isn’t always possible at home. Having a separate work place, and getting away from the distractions of home will boost productivity for remote workers. Regus Businessworld can provide this at a fraction of the cost of a fixed office.

4. Keep strict work processes and targets

To stop people becoming isolated when they’re working remotely, strict operational processes are vital. Things like signoff procedures, quality control checkpoints and daily targets should always be kept sharply in focus. Consider drawing up new job contracts to help people understand that these processes must be embedded in everything they do.

5. Meet up in person

Once or twice a year, get your whole team together for a face-to-face meeting. It could be a company away day, or a strategic planning session. Find the meeting place that’s most convenient for the whole team rather than forcing everyone to fly to head office.

6. Build a team spirit

Organize a weekly online gaming session, host a regular quiz night via Skype, or simply use instant messaging for socialising as well as business. Crucially, your remote team should never be strangers.

7. Organize one-to-one meetings

One of the key arguments against allowing remote working is one of managerial trust: according to Managing at arm’s length, 54% said that management are worried about how remote workers spend their time. Arrange frequent one-on-one meetings with your manager, and your direct reports to review productivity, report on your successes, hear feedback and define your next set of goals.

What’s your experience of working in a remote team? Leave a comment

7 signs you’re spending too much time in the office

Are you happy with how much time you spend at work? On average, 59% of us feel we are now spending more and more time at work, according to our recent work/life balance report. And 38% are less than happy with the amount of time we get to spend at home with family.

Too much time in the office

See how many of these telltale signs apply to you…

1. You dial for an outside line… when you’re at home

You pick up the phone to make a call, tap in the digits and spend a frustrated five minutes cursing your inability to get an outside line. And then you suddenly realise you’re at home and trying to call your mother.

2. You lose your weekend lie-in

It’s Saturday morning, it’s 6am and you’re wide awake! You’re so used to getting up early that, even though you’ve promised yourself a lie-in, your brain wakes you up at the exact moment your alarm usually goes off.

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3. You’re putting on weight

Is the work outfit a bit more tight-fitting than before? It could be all that time spent behind your desk is having an adverse effect on your waist line. With the average worker spending over five hours a day at their desk, both the lack of exercise and the temptation to graze on unhealthy snacks can lead to weight gain in the office. 

4. You’re best friends with the night shift

Are you best friends with the overnight team? If you’ve been working late so much recently you know more about how the security guard’s children are getting on than your own, it could be time to check your priorities. Go home already!

5. You’re becoming a funny shape

Aches and pains in your shoulders and back can be a sign that you’re spending too much time at your desk. Research suggests too much computer work can lead to musculoskeletal disorders which can cause poor posture. There are exercises you can do to counteract the effects – but you might look a bit funny doing them on the subway. Though actually that might not matter, because… 

6. You’re the only person in the train carriage on the commute home

For most of us the commute to work means long queues and standing room only. If you’re always able to get a seat, it’s probably because you’re travelling when everyone else has long gone home…

7. You’re stocking up on energy drinks

We all head to the coffee machine for a little boost to keep us going. But do you also find yourself stocking up on caffeine drinks and sugar-rich energy bars to get you through the day? If you find your energy level is only as good as your last cappuccino or high-energy drink, you might just be overdoing things. And there could be some potentially worrying side effects too.

Too much caffeine

Tell us what you think

What have we missed? Do you have any signs that you look out for to tell you you’re spending too much time chained to a desk? What are your tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance? Is your company giving you the chance to work flexibly, or use third place working. Leave a comment

5 Tips To Save Your Business Money

 

With 2013 well underway and our personal resolutions in the works (some more successful than others), it’s also time to think about shaping up your business. With recent Business Confidence Index research indicating cash flow as the biggest concern for businesses; small business owners and entrepreneurs should use the New Year as a fresh start to approaching their business finances. While personally we can head to the gym or shop less to carry out resolutions, what can businesses do to trim the “business belly fat” and increase cash flow?

 

Here are five steps businesses can take to be fiscally fit in 2013:

 Right size your business: Behind payroll, office space is the largest expenses for small businesses. Ask yourself, do you need a costly, long-term lease that may not apply to your company in six months’ time? See if non-binding, flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges better suit your company’s needs.

2.       Get flexible so your business can react to change: Explore today’s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity.

3.       Reach out for new customers: Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors.  By using a virtual office with a prestigious address, your company can expand into new areas with no upfront capital and minimal risk.

4.       Leverage technology in lieu of business travel: Videoconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.

5.       Learn from your mistakes: Symbolically, the New Year represents a clean slate for your business.  Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013.