I enjoy doing business as I travel. The idea of rising above the stress of business to see the sights of a foreign land, to enjoy a good meal and relax by the pool are attractive. So I offer you the following thoughts on travel and business.
I like the perspective of getting away from home, office and town. Sometimes a trip of only 100 miles away can make a difference in how you see your current situation. Any time I travel I come home appreciating what I have. This is especially true when I travel abroad. When my wife and I went to Israel in January, my comment upon arriving in Dallas was “We are affluent, on our way to wealthy, according to global standards.” I take for granted our infrastructure, the rule of law, individual rights and all the wealth America has at hand.
2. Meet others who are doing things
It’s fun to meet people from other places both in the U.S. and abroad. Have you ever been someplace and met someone from your home town? I get excited to meet them since we are away from home. I’m sure if I met them in line at the store at home it would not carry the same level of excitement.
I remember Mark McCormack’s book, “What They Don’t Teach You at the Harvard Business School” where he suggested that you fly in First Class because of the people you meet. There is still some truth in this today, that the people who fly are doing something bigger than themselves, something important or something new. I like to meet these people and keep in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. With Social Media, it is so much easier to have a global perspective.
3. Time away from business productivity
As much as I like the perspective I gain through traveling, on a recent trip to Atlanta it dawned on me that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel.
Let’s say you place a value of $100 per hour on your time. That would mean in a typical day of work from 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 you would create $800 of value. This is assuming that you are in one place creating value, like your office, and take just 1 hour for lunch. If your commute is 1 hour each way, you spent 11 total hours creating $800 of value or about $73 per hour.
Now let’s look at a day of business travel where you leave for the airport at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight and land at 9:30, drive to the business location arriving at 11:00, and work for 1 hour, take a 1 hour lunch, then work again from 1:00-5:00, hop on a plane home at 6:30 arrive in your home town at 8:30 and get home at 10:30. In this day you have created 6 hours of value in an office and let’s say another 2 hours of value working on the plane for a total of 8 hours. This would mean that you spent 17 hours creating $800 of value for or about $47 per hour.
This is how I got the idea that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel. I also need to stay longer in one place while I am there, to spread the travel time and cost over more billable days.
The other solution is to travel less and do more through video conferencing. There are many tools in a wide array of price ranges, from free services, like Skype, to premium services like Cisco Unified Communications platform.
4. Time away from family and friends
A little travel might cause you to appreciate your friends and family a little more, but I submit that the more you are away, the more your relationships suffer. Telephone, email, social media and video can make a positive impact on being away from loved ones but nothing takes the place of being there. So before we hop in a plane, train or automobile, we need to make sure it is a worthy trip. (Work Travel & Family Research Project at Texas Tech University)
What have you learned through Travel? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.