How to manage your boss while they are on the road

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Business travel is tricky for everyone involved. Our boss actually has to make the trip but we have to organise them remotely and sometimes in a different timezone. There are many aspects of a trip that can go wrong from delays, to cancellations to misplaced booking confirmations and we are not there to support them through these issues. We have to plan every aspect of the trip with the hope that our manager can deal with any unexpected problems… something they might not necessarily be used to! So here are my top ten tips on how to manage your boss while they are on the road.

  1. Prior to the trip make sure that you both have the same expectations. Is your manager expecting you to change the hours you work to coincide with the time difference? Are you expected to be in the office or can you work from home while they travel? Make sure these questions are answered before they leave for their trip so that you are both on the same page.
  2. Once the boss is settled into the hotel send them a reminder email detailing the hotel amenities and any local information that might prove useful (weather, good restaurants, nearest public transport). Include opening hours of the amenities (gym, spa etc) and breakfast times.
  3. Have duplicates of everything and keep the paper work together in a file on your desk for easy access.
  4. If your manager is travelling to a local office ask another assistant to keep an eye on your manager while they are there. Offer to do the same for their manager when they visit your office. Let your manager know that your colleague will be there to help if they can not get in contact with you directly.
  5. You should be given the task of running the office while your manager is on the road. Make sure that everything runs smoothly so that your manager can concentrate on their business overseas. Continue to keep distractions at bay and if possible delay any decisions until they are back.
  6. Keep track of their flight progress using the airline’s app or GateGuru. If there are any delays email your boss to let them know (they may have wifi access on the flight) and update any arrangements before they land (e.g. let the car hire company / chauffeur know they will be delayed).
  7. Keep in contact every day of their business trip. If there is a large time difference schedule an email to go out at the end of their day with any information or updates that they need. Just check in with them and let them know you are still supporting them remotely.
  8. Think about the time your manager is travelling. Do they arrive late or early? Will there be taxis easily available for them to get to the hotel / office? Does the hotel need to know if they are arriving late so that the room is not re-sold or do they need to organise an early check in?  Are they arriving in the middle of rush hour, will they be caught in traffic? If so make sure they are aware of the delays. Also if they are arriving during the day it may take longer for them to get through customs (particularly in busy airports).
  9. Can you help your manager cope with any jet lag they may experience? Try to add a little recovery time once they arrive, even if they get to the hotel and refresh before heading to the office. Otherwise move all of their meetings to the day after they return. If they do insist on coming into the office ensure they have a very light schedule that day.
  10. Arrange a catch up meeting once your manager returns to the office so that you can update them on everything while they have been away.

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