How to stay productive while traveling for your small business

Big trends call to actionWith today’s conferencing technologies – web and video – you no longer have to jump in your car or board a plane when you need to meet with a customer or prospect. Still there are times when a face-to-face meeting is essential, and it may include traveling out of town. Being productive and available to your team and others you do business with while you are traveling is critical since you are no doubt involved in most aspects of running your small business.

Here are some tips for making sure you stay connected and productive when you are on the road:

Stay connected with mobile broadband: Since you can’t always depend on the availability or security of airport, hotel or café Wi-Fi networks, consider mobile broadband (cellular high-speed internet service) options. For starters, check with your cellular provider about a service package that enables you to share your smartphone data allowance with other mobile devices, such as your laptop or tablet.  Sharing your cellular data connection with another device using hardware and/or software you purchase from your provider is called tethering. (With tethering, you are essentially using the modem on your smartphone to create a mobile hotspot.). You also can get mobile broadband service by purchasing a dongle, which is a USB modem that enables you to connect your laptop to a cellular network.

Businessman walks on a modern corridorCollaborate in the cloud:  Be assured of having necessary documents with you at all times by storing company data in the cloud. You can access and download documents to your mobile devices whenever you need them as well as make revisions and upload them so that other team members have the latest versions. By keeping your small business documents in the cloud you can collaborate with your team on the development of materials no matter where you are.

Cancel background noise with a headset: You never know where you will be when a call comes in or you need to place one. That means you have no control over the noise around you, which can seriously impact your communication. For times like this, noise cancelling headsets – wired or wireless – assure that you will hear and be heard clearly whenever you are on a cellular call on your smartphone or on a soft phone call on your tablet or laptop.

Don’t lose power: At the top of your travel checklist, put laptop adapter/power supply/charger and cables and cords for other mobile devices you are carrying to be sure you don’t run out of power. Since most devices are equipped for voltage both in the US and overseas, you probably won’t need a power converter but do bring adapter plugs appropriate for the countries you are visiting.

More work travel tips

In addition to having the right technology, blogger Rebecca Thorman offers some other suggestions to maintain efficiency and productivity while you are on the road in “5 Tips for Working While Traveling.” Among them:

  • Package your tasks: Thorman advises that you use your travel time efficiently by planning to work on specific tasks at certain times, such as when you are at the gate waiting to board, in flight or during meals.
  • Research places to work: Save time by planning before you go where there are convenient cafes or restaurants where you can work if you have downtime between meetings. Check online review sites such as Yelp to find out about the quality of Wi-Fi connections.
  •  Get exercise: You sit a lot when you travel, so take opportunities to stand and stretch your muscles so you will return to the office in good shape.

With the right technology and planning, business travel doesn’t have to be disruptive. What do you do to make business travel productive?

About Judi Hembrough

Judi leads Americas Marketing strategy and go-to-market programs for the Small and Medium Business (SMB) customer segment at Plantronics. Judi has been a marketing director at Plantronics for 10 years in various roles focused on Strategic Alliances Marketing, SMB and Home & Home Office solutions. Prior to Plantronics, Judi was President of William-Christie Associates, Inc. -- a management consulting practice, for 10 years where she guided numerous companies such as Palm, Intuit, CBS MarketWatch and HID, in driving new initiatives.