This article has been prepared by our guest writer Mhorag Doig, Founder and CEO, Harbour84.
The rise of business travel and how it impacts team dynamics
Business travel is on the rise, coinciding with a change in working patterns toward more flexibility, demand for more autonomy, and a desire to connect with others beyond the boundaries of an organisation. We believe this trend is at least in part due to the increasing importance of ‘employee engagement’, in particular through connecting with colleagues and clients face to face. But what will this mean for team dynamics and individual productivity as more and more people step outside HQ’s four walls?
Balancing online and offline collaboration
To preface, we are not decrying all those amazing technological advancements such as Skype, Trello, Slack and myriad other platforms which have allowed us to collaborate with our teams, colleagues and clients from anywhere in the world. It could be argued these platforms should have contributed to a decline in business travel since it negates the need to step away from one’s computer. Instead, we applaud that irrespective of how connected we become ‘online’, it seems there is no replacement for getting on that plane or train and engaging with colleagues and clients face to face.
Making the business travel day count
Until recently travel policies ignored the needs of the travellers themselves once they had reached B from A, leaving individuals and teams to fend for themselves when working individually or collaboratively, away from HQ. However, as highlighted at the recent Business Travel Show, attention is shifting now to not only how to better design jobs that involve digital and physical collaboration, but also how to provide workspaces and travel solutions that offer an engaging employee, team, and client experience and positively contribute to employees being happy, healthy and connected at work, wherever that work is taking them.
To help you out we’ve captured our top three pieces of advice for the discerning business traveller or team keen to stay connected and productive on the road:
Do not compromise on your business needs. One of the big drawbacks of Business Travel is that by virtue of being away from your fixed workspace you can often find yourself compromising on the physical, digital and social infrastructure you know you and your team need to succeed. Give yourself the time, the right workspace, and the right tools you need to deliver to the same high standards as you would at HQ.
Remember that even if you are a practiced business traveller, your team or clients might not be, so make sure you schedule your days efficiently, factoring in preparation time and set-up time for any meetings. Stay in touch with your colleagues at HQ as well to make sure that you are not missing any vital opportunities or pieces of information by virtue of being ‘on the move’.
Stay well-nourished on the road. Creativity and productivity rely on a healthy, happy, engaged employee brain, so take care of yours and make sure if your team are travelling with you or on the road regularly themselves, that they take care of theirs. The care and consideration you give to the wellbeing of your team on the road will be paid back in spades in engagement, productivity and employee happiness. This advice, catering to the needs of mobile individuals and teams, coincides with a mindset shift in how we work, where we work and when we work. Not only are employees placing more importance on their physical and mental wellbeing, but as they are exposed to more different environments in their personal and working lives, they become more attuned to what they need on the road in order to be productive, healthy, and happy.
Embracing mobility to benefit the organisation
This advice, catering to the needs of mobile individuals and teams, coincides with a mindset shift in how we work, where we work and when we work. Not only are employees placing more importance on their physical and mental wellbeing, but as they are exposed to more different environments in their personal and working lives, they become more attuned to what they need on the road in order to be productive, healthy, and happy.
One opportunity for off-site employees and teams is the rise in fantastic coworking and other ‘workspace as a service’ providers designed and built with individual and team productivity in mind.
Even when on the road with or without your team the need to collaborate and deliver does not disappear, and services like Harbour84 have developed to help you find that right space for your team to flourish, even if just needed for the day.
Great teams can work well anywhere, but the great news is now they don’t have to, and there’s no telling what could be achieved if organisations took a little more care in the support and tools they provide access to outside HQ, and with platforms like WeWent supporting organisations to discover new team engagement and development activities, it is no wonder that organisations are increasingly attuned to the value of finding great external spaces ‘off-site’ for these learning interventions to flourish.
Supporting our teams and employees to thrive
With greater opportunity than ever to personalise our lifestyle choices, it is natural we wish to find ways to support our mobile employees to feel connected and empowered at work. If we can better understand and capture the subjective value of connectivity during periods of business travel and off-site working, this could herald the start of a new, more bespoke relationship between an organisation and its mobile teams, with happiness and wellbeing at its core. One that supports all individuals to do their best work, anytime, anywhere.
Mhorag Doig is the Founder of Harbour84, a platform to connect mobile workers and business travellers with workspaces that can help them be at their best ‘away from HQ’. With experience in personal and professional development at the University of Edinburgh and subsequently executive search within Korn Ferry’s HR centre of expertise in EMEA, she is passionate about supporting individuals to do their best work, whenever and wherever they are.