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The modern workforce is expected to be many things, and in a time when we lack nothing in terms of technological conveniences, perhaps “efficient” is the word that best describes today’s ideal employee.

For many of us, business travel is an unavoidable part of life. Most people associate time spent out of the office as just another way for emails to clog up, but if you make efficient use of your time, the hours spent travelling can actually give you the opportunity to get ahead.

Most business trips cause you to lose a minimum of half a day spent travelling. Think about the number of hours you have spent in a taxi, sitting in traffic on the way to the airport or train station, waiting in endless queues to get through security, or standing on a platform waiting for a delayed train – all before the actual journey even begins. This all adds up to a substantial amount of time where, if organised, you can get work done.

With the luxuries of Wi-Fi, laptops, tablets and cloud technology, we are never truly out of the office, so why not implement a few changes in order to take advantage of the hours en route to stay on top of your work responsibilities?

Monitor your workload

When your managers and colleagues know you’re going to be out of the office, they tend to take this into consideration and reflect it in your workload. Deadlines are pushed back and sometimes your work is even steered towards individuals who are physically in the office.

Take advantage of this by using time spent in a taxi or shuttle to catch up on emails via your smart phone, or make a few calls you haven’t been able to get around to. This way, when you get back to your desk, you’ll have managed to actually reduce your workload.

If you’ve been working on an ongoing project that demands your attention, why not set up your laptop in an airport café during a layover and get a couple of hours work in? Getting work done out of the office means you’re away from the distraction of chatting to colleagues or spending time in meetings. You might find that you’re able to concentrate more deeply and achieve higher quality work. You could also use this time to really impress the boss by brainstorming some new ideas or researching opportunities for the business.

Prepare

It can be very tempting to slip on some headphones or open a book once you settle into your seat on a train or plane. But the undisturbed hours before you can be extremely valuable, allowing you to achieve a great deal if you use your time wisely.

Whatever the purpose of your business trip, there is always something expected of you. If you’re attending a conference or exhibition for your industry, then you’re expected to bring back new and exciting information to your employer. In this case, it’s always good to take some time and set objectives on what it is you want to gain from the event and decide which lectures or exhibits will be most beneficial for you and your company.

Taking time to go through any slides or notes is especially important if you’re attending a meeting where you will be giving a presentation or pitching an idea. This will ensure that you appear as being not only prepared, but polished and professional.

If you’re travelling to a different country that you’ve never visited, this is also a great time to do a little research on local customs so that you don’t start off on the wrong foot.

Sleep

This is particularly important for long-haul travel, or if you’re going to be visiting a different time zone for your business trip. While it’s important to prepare, and get your mind focused on the tasks ahead of you, you also want to make sure that you set yourself up for success by arriving well-rested and fresh.

To avoid arriving at your meeting jet lagged and exhausted, make sure to switch your watch to the local time zone of your destination, and try to match a few hours of rest to the typical sleeping hours, if possible. For example, if you’re taking an over-night flight, spend the first few hours focusing on getting some work done, and then take advantage of the time when the flight attendants turn out the lights on the plane to get some rest.

When you land in the morning, you’ll be ahead of the game with a few hours of sleep under your belt, ensuring you’re fresh and alert for any events or meetings you’ll need to attend that day.

Jessica Farrugia writes on behalf of CT Business Travel, one of the UK’s leading corporate travel management companies. For information on how their services can benefit your business, visit ctbusinesstravel.co.uk

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