Never off. Always on. Our work culture has made a dramatic U-turn since the Dolly Parton days of ‘working 9 to 5’. Employees today are always on the clock, always available, always on-call. According to Bonnie Smith, GM FCM, business travel could help bring some relief from the always-on work mentality.
Although 22% of people said they feel unproductive for up to half of their business trips and are actively looking for ways to remedy their ‘unproductivity’, Smith suggests it might be better to enjoy ‘travel dead time’ as a way to recharge.
“The need to be productive has become overwhelming,” says Smith. “When people travel for work they feel the pressure to work around the clock and make every minute productive. But this is in fact counterproductive. It will impact on your ability to do the job for which you are travelling and will impact on your overall mental health.”
Smith suggests the best use of dead-time is to use it to recharge and re-energise.
Make downtime, you time
When it comes to work-related travel, stress is often a common companion. Invest “wasted” travel time in yourself. Listening to music or audiobooks with headphones can be a great way to relax and unwind. This can help you reconnect with your inner self and recharge your mental battery so that when you get to your destination, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to accomplish your business goals.
Plan a little time off
As work and personal lives become more intertwined, bleisure travel is on the rise. Many business travellers use the time between their professional appointments to get to know their destination or plan a few extra days for sightseeing. Use transit time to research your destination – and even book an activity to help you relax.
If you can’t work, study
Productivity can be more than just checking things off your to-do list. Are you interested in learning something new but don’t feel like you ever have the time? Use your travel time to expand your skills and improve your knowledge, which can help your professional development. Before your next trip, pack a few books or download podcasts focused on improving your personal or work goals.
Take your notebook with you
Problems often need to marinate before they can be solved. Some of the best ideas come to us when we’re not actively thinking about them. With a notebook by your side, you can quickly jot down those lightbulb moments. It can also serve as a diary for personal thoughts, dreams, and goals.
“Business travel is all about balance. And yet it’s so easy for balance to slip when travellers are out on the road, leaving them tired and stressed. Of course, productivity is important for business travellers. Although it might sound counterintuitive, the best way to become more productive is to allow yourself the space to relax and unwind. After all, if you neglect your wellbeing, it could lead to burnout. So, instead of fighting travel ‘dead-time’, embrace it as an opportunity to re-charge and recalibrate,” concludes Smith.