In the Zone

Trav­el­ling with the boss

Business Spotlight - - CONTENTS -

“If you were cho­sen to go along on a busi­ness trip, it’s be­cause you’re sup­posed to be part of the so­lu­tion — never part of the prob­lem,” says Carolyn W. Pad­dock, travel ex­pert, talk­ing to the Huff­post. “And your boss wants to be sure that he or she can count on you to rep­re­sent him/her ap­pro­pri­ately.”

Busi­ness travel presents chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties, and never more so than when your com­pan­ion for the trip is your man­ager. So how can you make the most of the ex­pe­ri­ence? Start by re­mem­ber­ing at all times that you are with your boss and at work, says Pad­dock. Her tips in­clude be­ing punc­tual, look­ing smart, not com­plain­ing (even when things don’t work out as planned), lim­it­ing your al­co­hol con­sump­tion, and keep­ing your per­sonal phone or so­cial me­dia use to a min­i­mum.

Writ­ing for the Reader’s Di­gest, Ian Lan­dau em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “When things don’t go as planned, say some­thing,” Lan­dau says. “If you find your­self lost or in over your head, ask ques­tions. Most man­agers love to give ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions.”

It can also be a good idea to pre­pare a “safe list” of top­ics of con­ver­sa­tion (food, weather, sport, TV view­ing). It’s about form­ing the right sort of con­nec­tions be­tween you and your boss. “You shouldn’t open up to them like you do [to] your best friend, but re­mem­ber they’re hu­man and have a life be­yond the of­fice,” says Emily Howard of Choice­ho­tels.com. “Friendly con­ver­sa­tion may even lead you to re­al­ize the two of you have shared in­ter­ests

or goals, and it may even give you in­sight into how they ap­proach their work.”

Busi­ness travel is a chance for you to show your boss what you can do and who you are when away from the of­fice. But it is im­por­tant to know what is ex­pected of you. Meet with your boss be­fore the trip, advises Bar­bara Pachter, au­thor of The Es­sen­tials of Busi­ness Eti­quette, talk­ing to CNN. Pachter says it is im­por­tant to know from the start who will be re­spon­si­ble for such tasks as book­ing tick­ets and sched­ul­ing meet­ings. You should also dis­cuss with your boss which of you pays for things like ho­tels, restau­rants and trans­porta­tion.

Sue Bryant of Coun­try­nav­i­ga­tor.com points to how be­hav­iour dif­fers from coun­try to coun­try and from cul­ture to cul­ture. “If you are trav­el­ling in Asia, for ex­am­ple, where meet­ings fol­low strict pro­to­col, adopt this lo­cal cul­ture,” says Bryant. “You may ban­ter freely with your boss in the of­fice but in coun­tries like China or Ja­pan, ju­nior em­ploy­ees are ex­pected to de­fer to the boss and in meet­ings, let them lead the con­ver­sa­tion. Do not con­tra­dict your su­pe­rior in front of clients, as it will cause them a se­ri­ous loss of face. Age and sta­tus need to be re­spected.”

There’s some­one else who might need re­as­sur­ance, too. The idea that you will be spend­ing time away with a se­nior work col­league can put pres­sure on re­la­tion­ships at home. “The spouse or part­ner left be­hind can feel an­gry and re­sent­ful,” Dr Scott Cohen, Univer­sity of Sur­rey, told CNN. He sug­gests man­ag­ing ex­pec­ta­tions (it might not be pos­si­ble to call be­cause of time dif­fer­ences or sched­uled meet­ings) and plan­ning be­fore the trip as a fam­ily or cou­ple.

So, what about the boss’s per­spec­tive? “It’s easy to for­get that you were once in your em­ployee’s shoes,” writes Monique Clai­borne, fi­nance and busi­ness travel ex­pert, at Inc.com. She sug­gests that, as the boss, you should make time to stop talk­ing about work and in­ter­act with your em­ployee as an in­di­vid­ual, and that you should give them enough space, whether dur­ing travel or in their free time. And fi­nally, says Clai­borne, let em­ploy­ees know that they don’t need to fol­low your ev­ery move, the clothes you wear or what you say. “There is enough pres­sure al­ready trav­el­ling with the boss,” she says. “These lit­tle mo­ments can go a long way.”

With or with­out the boss, busi­ness trips are a chance to es­cape your rou­tine, and should be en­joyed. They are not hol­i­days, but there is no rea­son why you shouldn’t make the most of your trav­els.

Avi Meir of Trav­elperk.com iden­ti­fies a grow­ing trend: busi­ness-leisure travel, or “bleisure”, adding per­sonal re­lax­ation time to work trips. “If tak­ing an ex­tra cou­ple [of] re­lax­ation days will recharge you and make you a stronger as­set upon re­turn, your boss will un­der­stand,” Meir ex­plains.

“By ex­tend­ing your trip and cov­er­ing your own costs on the ad­di­tional days, you might even save your com­pany money on air­fare,” he adds.

Who knows? Maybe your boss will be do­ing the same.

“Re­mem­ber that your boss is hu­man and has a life be­yond the of­fice”

Busi­ness travel: be re­spect­ful, es­pe­cially if you’re with your boss

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