If you are a frequent flyer, you will no doubt know the basics when it comes to simplifying business travel. You’ll be well versed in the art of travelling light and armed with the latest tech to ensure you stay connected. However, there are a number of travel hacks that can ensure you travel smarter. Read these five business travel hacks and never miss a trick.
Successful Business Travel Starts at Home
Learning to pack smarter can be the difference between a stressful business trip and a stress free business trip. Only packing the essentials can allow you to downsize your luggage from a hold bag to a carry on case, which provides a whole host of benefits saving you both time and money. That being said, it’s not just about what you pack, but also how you pack it. Rolling your items instead of folding them is a superb space-saving tip and layering your belongings leaving the clothing and toiletries you need on arrival at the top saves unnecessary rummaging upon check-in.
Keep Important Information at your Fingertips
As a frequent business traveller, you will know that it pays to be organised. Knowing your travel itinerary inside is essential and creating a checklist of those all important documents can ensure nothing gets left behind. Before you print off those flight details and hotel booking confirmations, check your email inbox for the details and take screenshots of them on your phone. Download your airline’s mobile App and have the boarding passes sent to your phone. This way, you don’t have to weigh your pockets down with excess paperwork, but having all of the information at your fingertips will give you peace of mind.
Plan in Regular Rest Intervals
Being on the road can be exhausting and many business trips involve travelling during unsociable hours. As a result, it is wise to use your downtime to recharge your batteries and sleep when you can. Refuel regularly and always have nutritious food to hand. Remembering to hydrate is equally important. Making sure your body gets the rest that it needs will help you to adjust to different time zones and allow you to arrive at your meetings feeling refreshed and revitalised.
Charge it Up
When travelling for business, it is essential that your batteries are fully charged at all times. Not only will this ensure that you have plenty of in-flight entertainment, but it also means that you can check emails on the go and communicate with colleagues as you commute. Having your phone and laptop fully charged means you can make use of those precious minutes travelling from the airport to your hotel or from your hotel to your business meeting. Pack a charger in your suitcase, but keep a mobile charger pack on your person should you find yourself without a nearby plug socket.
Add Up Those Air Miles
The more you travel, the more air miles you’ll rack up and being smart when you book your flights can ensure that you are eligible for the perks associated with regular business travel. Using one airline only for business flights can give you access to a range of perks that make your journey more comfortable, even luxurious. Travel in style with access to the airport lounge, a complimentary upgrade and even a free flight. It’s not just airlines that reward frequent business travellers. Do your research to find out which hotels provide loyalty schemes and use these to your advantage. Complimentary room upgrades, free Wi-Fi, dining offers and late check out are just a few of the perks.
Use these five travel hacks to improve your next business travel experience and take the stress out of your journey.
Work Times Are Changing For The Better
Leaders in business have always had more leeway with their working hours. They have never been restrained by the standard business hours most of us are contracted to do every week. You know what I’m referring to, most ‘wage-slaves’ i.e. employees, need to work Monday to Friday between 8am and 6 pm, for 40 hours a week.
Flexi time for workers has crept in, in many industries, over the years, particularly with startups and more forward-thinking organisations keen to get the work-life balance right. Remote working has been popular with these businesses, but any change to the norm has been slow progress particularly with the mainstream majority. Let’s take a quick look at the adoption curve which explains uptake trends.
The early and late majority is the big peak in the ‘rate of adoption’ curve aka diffusions of innovation. This curve presents the way innovation (particularly in technology) is adopted by us – human kind and the curve is an illustration we can view and instantly comprehend.
Work times are changing but arguably it’s yet to become the norm with the ‘majority’, (the peak in the curve). There is some way to go before we see real change the times we work and for it to be part of our employment agreements.
Slow on the uptake
Business owners and their management have not been quick off the mark with remote working or flex time and there’s a perfectly valid reason for their reluctance.
Trust and accountability
A lack of trust and the ability to keep a watchful eye on staff, when they’re not in the office, is the main reason for the slow uptake of more flexible working hours and working away from the office.
Leaders are inherently naturally driven and motivated to put in the hours due to their status within the business, therefore working from their home or holiday is not a constant distraction. Their staff are likely to take more liberty with their new work environment and a lack of personal oversight has deterred many businesses to the leap of faith until now.
Technology is the game changer and it is empowering businesses, like never before. There are many tools like chat Apps, readily available to assist both staff and management’s trust issues.
Staff can be hired in different locations and remote workers can be part of team meetings via conference calls. Plus there’s the use chat bot software so the power and control is there for the business to watch over their staff.
The natural progression of work is more flexible work times, as jobs also change. The earlier risers can get their work done when they’re most productive, in much the same way as the night owls among us can log on and be equally as productive during the dark hours of the day. Rising early though has gotten a lot of attention lately.
Just look at the rising times of some well known Entrepreneurs. BBC has recently done a story on the unorthodox waking hours of successful business owners, celebrities and famous people and questioned if rising early meant more success.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up at 03.45am and Actor, Entrepreneur, Mark Wahlberg really uses the 24 hours in day to work for him. Rising at 02.30am and going to bed at 7.30 pm.
No longer does it need to be daylight before we rise and get to work and it’s likely this way of living where we elect when we work during 24 hours of the day, will extend to the rest of us non super stars, as evidence suggests, when productivity goes up so to does the revenue and profit.
So as for the early bird does get the worm idiom, yes it’s real but for everyone and that’s why work times are changing as businesses need to be more competitive. The desire to make more money will keep pushing the envelope in all areas of business and with the enabler of technology to track and measure us, it won’t be long before there’s no such thing as standard work times.
Giving Your Travel Business An Edge Through A Call Handling Service
It is clear that the telephone plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of businesses, especially for a travel agency. With the development of digital technology, the telephone can now be carried by anyone in the form of a small hand-held device wherein you can call, chat or video chat with someone located on the other side of the world in real time, and seek and find information on just about anything through the internet, all at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse. This technological breakthrough has made being connected not only easy and convenient but also a must. But what happens when the calls continue to come even after work hours and even during holidays?
If you take a close look at a business such as a travel agency, this is exactly the type of organisation that can really benefit from a call handling service.
The primary role of a travel agency is to make airline ticket bookings, which is a role that a virtual receptionist can carry out from a remote location. Remote bookings are now made easier because of the Internet. The digital platform provided by the Internet makes it possible for a professional receptionist who is remotely located to book flights for clients. Because all travel businesses have to use a cloud-based online booking system, the call centre can easily access this, allowing the receptionist to have up-to-date information on bookings.
By having someone to answer phones for the travel business round-the-clock, none of its clients are left ignored. With just a call at any time of night or day, clients will be confident that a travel business personnel will always be around to book their flights once they decide on the schedule.
If your business is Australia-based, you can enjoy an affordable telephone answering service by Office HQ, a market leader in the virtual receptionist industry.
A virtual receptionist would be able to answer queries about flight availability or enquiries on working out a connection to somewhere on the other side of the world, just as anyone would if they were actually in the travel agency office. This is a skilled job for anyone, yet it does not mean that the person must be located within the premises. In fact, many travel agents use call handling services as this is the most cost-effective way to offer a professional service to their clients.
While some travellers like to book their flight and accommodation separately, there are many who take advantage of the package tours on offer and by using a virtual receptionist who is fully-briefed on all available packages, they can make bookings on your behalf and the customer would assume the receptionist is located at the agency premises.
Holiday season and other festivals are definitely busy periods for travel agencies and if your receptionist is stretched at this time, why not let a call handling provider deal with any extra calls? We all want to get away in the winter months and during the peak holiday season, you can use a call handling service and when things get quiet down again, you can put a hold on the service.
Even people who work in the holiday industry need a holiday sometimes and losing your receptionist for a couple of weeks could really put a spanner in the works. With an established call handling company at your beck and call, you are always assured that your customers will be greeted professionally and your business will not suffer.
If your main goal is to ensure that questions and requests by clients are paid enough attention, then hiring a virtual receptionist will be beneficial for you. A virtual receptionist is trained to handle calls courteously and professionally, so you are rest assured your clients are talking with well-trained people round-the-clock.
With the top-notch quality of service virtual receptionists are giving your clients, you can increase your profit while saving on labour costs. Satisfied clients can bring in new clients through word of mouth. Plus, calls by those who are only available after work hours are also paid attention to.
Unlike in-house receptionists, virtual receptionists are paid only with the service they provide and once they provide it. They can answer large volumes of calls with unwavering amount of attention to every call.
If you run a travel agency, talk to an established call handling provider and they are sure to have a package that is ideal for your business, and if used as a back up to your directly employed staff, this service is an essential requirement for all businesses.
How To Deal With Toxic Staff
Workers spend a third of their lifetime at work so it’s a good thing workplaces are a lot more like our homes now with break out zones for time out and socialisation. These zones are set up for relaxation, and de-stressing, so they often include indoor games and activities like table soccer. The theory goes if your worker spends more time at work they’ll produce more. A byproduct is time spent with colleagues can turn into lifetime friendships away from the office which can be a good thing for the business. If your workers enjoy being at work they will stay there for more hours in the day. The flip-side to that wonderful outcome is having to also spend lots of time with ‘toxic co-workers’. These individuals may be bullies, and leave some of your employees mentally drained and it’s not only affecting the odd one or two people but the entire team. Toxic staff do not just limit your business productivity but also it’s morale and perception in the marketplace so hiring new staff becomes a whole lot harder.
How do you know if your worker is toxic
1. He undermines everyone, to gain the upper ground
2. He doesn’t respect coworker’ ideas or input and implies their ideas are his own
3. He is a hypocrite, telling on his peers for action also he engages in
4. He puts himself before anyone else and the company.
5. He is negative in nature and makes fun of people in an insulting and depreciating way.
Surveys and studies on employee management show how important team dynamics are in organizations. A toxic employee in the mix can not only put a strain on the dynamics of a team but also impact on the confidence of your high potential employees who may either leave your company or just not reach their potential so dealing with a ‘bad apple’ so to speak, before it infects and ruins the lot is fundamental to the productivity and ongoing success of the business.
How to deal with your toxic-staffer
1. Have an honest and frank discussion with the worker
Leaders step up in these situations, and follow the company procedure for dealing with bad behaviour. The person causing mayhem maybe doing it deliberately and therefore not mend his/her ways or without a leader’s input. They may however respect hierarchy so a leader can have a positive impact on them when they know what their doing won’t be tolerated. Toxic nature is learned and carried into adult life if it’s not been dealt with in their earlier life i.e. it needs to be picked up at school ideally before university. If this hasn’t happened then the onus is on the business leader to set and police the ground rules.
2. Hold firm and discipline
Know what the rules of engagement are when dealing with bad behaviour and hold firm. Letting the person off the hook so to speak without punishment and you risk encouraging the toxic co-worker to carry and run riot with all they come into contact with. Create their boundaries and protect them. When they’re breached, make sure the disciplinary action is carried out and documented as required by the business.
3. Focus on your business and its goals
Remember what you’re here for, why you’re in business and keep the focus on it’s success and the goals to achieve it. Employee management is part of running a business and while you may not be a natural people person take a course, engage personnel consultants and if you can hire an HR manager to take over the day to day management of your staff so you can focus on the goals of the business and do what you’re really good at.
Dealing with a toxic co-worker is certainly not an easy task, it draining at best and requires diplomacy. The best way forward is to remove the action and if not the person so your team can reach their potential so your business do likewise. Well crafted break out zones will encourage social activity among workers and this may be just what your toxic worker was seeking all along – to be part of the team!
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