As much as it might sound, in this article we are not going to talk about the miles you can collect while you travel for work. Although I accept that is definitely a nice bonus to the whole experience.
Clearly, there is a reason international companies create a huge travel budget. The notion of meeting your colleagues/clients face to face makes the interaction 100% more reliable and memorable.
Personally, I love flying to a destination, be it for vacation or work. Then the time after landing and meeting some of your colleagues for the first time.
If I divide the work travel experience before and after, I can explain to you better why the work travel can give you wings.
Sort your work/life out while flying
I am not afraid of plane rides, on the contrary I find flying extremely helpful for my creativity. It is almost a booster for my ideas and feelings that encourages success and innovation. That is so strong that I decided to write this article – on the plane – on my short journey to Vienna.
To give you some examples of how flying in recent years totally inspired me. For one long haul flight, I printed a tech article to read and pass time on the go. Right after I read it, I wrote a whole pitch deck of an idea on the plane. This idea has become a real project at my work and got presented in many meetings in the following months. It was cited as a great initiative in many cases. Although it had to be taken down due to budget issues. When I am up in the sky I feel much more articulated and things seem to be clearer than ever. I even often take life decisions or make judgement calls easily of a past issue during the flight. In most of the cases it is fair to say I come out of the flight as a happier person. <Understandably minus turbulences or late night flights.>
I started to observe myself in the last few years. I wanted to understand why I feel so motivated to “create” on a flight. Here are a couple of findings:
Being in your own bubble
Traveling alone or with a partner, flying has it is unsigned agreement. It is well-known it is a time to read a book, fiddle with the airline magazine, watch movies or listen to music. The fact that we are limited with a seat for the next one
Distractions are taken away
For a number of hours, you are away from the usual distractions like your mobile phone and TV (for the short haul). I honestly prefer not to have an internet connection on the plane. This way, I can have an excuse to finally read that book or articles waiting or I can doodle or make a plan of the next thing that is waiting for my attention.
Several inspirational elements of flying
- Taken to the new and unknown as your take off keeps your curiosity at a high level. One cannot stop wondering what is going to happen when you land.
- Aeroplanes are inspiring themselves, watching the cities over, the engineering miracle, undeniably flying is still magical.
- Other people in the same flight with you are always interesting to watch and they make your brain create connections in many unpredictable ways.
- Symbol of being high can make you “high” too.
- Taking off when the sky is clear is always a joy to watch. With a high start like that your dopamine levels help you to create and stay positive.
- The journey itself represents your life journey. This metaphor unconsciously makes us think of the secrets the mind caves and instigates some important questions for life that feel like they come out of nowhere.
There is absolutely something empowering for me in flying. Even though I am quite extraverted, I also take energy from being alone and plane rides are perfect for that reason.
Treasure your time at the destination
Once you arrive… Understand meeting the colleagues or the clients is usually once or twice in a year chance. Your shot at this precious time booked together is very significant. Spending whole time working on the burning topics might seem like a good idea. However, it is more important to take time to converse on daily topics and have a coffee together or do an activity 1/3rd of the time will be a greater investment of your time and expenses. This is an opportunity to allow deeper engagement for employees.
In the next blog post, we will talk about how WeWent designs and organizes its very own offsite meetings in no time. But before that let us emphasize what would give you the real benefit from these business trips.
Get to know the people that you collaborate most
Having a remote (global) team is #1 challenge for productivity especially company culture is not surrounded around teamwork. In the past, I had colleagues that I spent a good 2-3 hours of my day on the phone with and had never seen in real life. Hence I felt lucky if we managed to spare a budget for one time face-to-face meeting. Times dedicated for “nothing” and agenda is supporting “no rush” will play best for spontaneous. Conversations that are not forced on is to best get to know your colleagues. Besides “coffee breaks” are the time that works for you and they are real bonding moments in disguise of having a break.
This is one of the easiest tips out there, however not well done most of the time. Especially if you are a manager, you might be worried about running the “show” right. What might be most valuable sometimes just to step back and ensure you are listening to the words and watching the mimics of your colleagues to read the people behind the lines. And remember – listen to understand, not to reply.
Is there a topic the whole team would benefit learning it together? Learning is a great way to connect one another when people share their discoveries.
One popular way is to learn about yourself and your colleagues with famous MBTI. This is something we expand to all our new team members. While you can start with a free version we recommend that you work with a certified professional who can help you to reach your full team potential through the analysis.
Another great way is to learn about the product of your company. Let’s say if you are in the beauty industry you can learn how to make an organic soap or if you are a food company you can visit an organic farm.
Or you can address a technology topic that would be a great asset to your team by inviting an expert/speaker to take you through the basics and potential innovation applied to your sector. (examples are ioT, blockchain, AI, AR, VR etc.)
Work hard play harder
After several hours of brainstorming, planning and working sessions there needs to be always time for relaxation, fun and spending some purposeful time. General expectation goes to a delicious dinner and some drinks. If you have more than one day in your hands for your business trip then the advice goes to spending this time addressing some needs. Such as resolving conflict within the team or with a client or improving communication skills seasoned with a lot of fun.
Most preferred examples are the escape room or scavenger hunt, kitchen battles and team games & challenges.
Because of these two aspects of work travel booking, a flight ticket is always exciting for me. And the reward of arriving at my destination starts with onboarding the flight.
Business travel gives me wings because for me it’s as much about the journey as about the destination. The journey creates a unique opportunity of self reflection and realignment and destination always awaits with new opportunities and surprises.
Would love to hear what is in a business trip for you if you can get past the tiredness, delays, turbulences and double-booked seat problems!