Taking Care of Business When on the Road

The last thing you need on a business trip is to worry about office operations.

An independent business traveler’s greatest concern often revolves around how the office will function in his or her absence. Too often things at the office come to a standstill when a key employee is travelling. The result is an unwelcome backlog of work for the weary traveler upon his return.

If you are frequently greeted by backlog after a business trip, there are certain measures you can take to make sure things are different the next time around.

First and foremost, be willing to empower your staff. Although no one can take your place, it is important to ensure that your staff can handle clients and daily operations efficiently in your absence. Train your staff in as many aspects of your job as possible. Encourage them to make independent decisions while you are away from your desk – this will give them the experience and the confidence needed to resolve problems in your absence.

Stay in touch with the office. Direct your staff to leave frequent e-mail and voice mail updates while you’re away. That way, you’ll be able to keep abreast of what’s happening back home without having to make unnecessary calls. And, here’s a side benefit: less stress. You won’t spend time worrying about how well that client meeting went.

Make use of technology. Purchase an electronic personal organizer to track meetings and appointments — this will help you plan your post-trip time better. Invest in a cellular phone or a pocket-sized pager. Find a service provider that will offer you access and affordable service in the areas to which you usually travel. It helps to know that you’re just a phone call away from the office and other business contacts. And, of course, carry your laptop computer. Business information will be available at your fingertips and you won’t have to keep calling your home office to verify facts and figures. Plus, it gives you instant online access – no need to visit Internet cafes.

While you’re away from work, allow yourself peace of mind to focus on the business at hand – let your office staff hold the fort while you get down to business.

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