With all the extra queuing involved these days, having to fly for business doesn’t always seem like the great adventure it once did. However, with a little preparation, the time you spend in the air can be some of the most productive of your working week.
There can be a lot of standing around, waiting, and queuing involved in a business flight these days, so optimising the way you plan and prepare for your flight doesn’t only help you work, it can help you avoid potential sources of stress too.
If you can avoid checking in a bag, this will speed your passage through the airport considerably. However, don’t do it at the expense of having a barely lift-able carry on.
Organise your carry on so that you have all your chargers for your devices to hand, plus any additional power-packs you think you might need for them. Download any documents or presentations you need to your local drives, so that you can work even when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, and print off anything you will need in hard copy. Don’t forget to pack a notepad and a couple of Biros to capture inspiration when you need some device-free time.
Book fast-track passage through the airport where available
Fast, smooth passage through an airport can be worth the price of an upgrade alone, but it is worth talking to your travel counsellor to see whether the airline offers add-ons for standard-class or business-class passengers to add this to your flight package.
Stock up on bottled water before you get on the flight
To stop yourself feeling sluggish or losing concentration, stay hydrated on the flight. Taking a couple of bottles of water on board with you will help you minimise disruptions to your work too because you won’t be reliant on the aircrew to stay hydrated.
Pay for lounge access, especially if you have a stopover
You don’t have to be travelling first class to gain access to the airport lounges these days. Most airports have pay-per-visit lounges where you’ll find Wi-Fi access and quiet spaces for working.
The various agreements between airlines about lounge access can get quite complicated, so if you are travelling business or first class but aren’t sure which lounge will suit you best, your travel counsellor will be able to give you more information about the premium lounges to which you have complimentary access. As a general rule though, the home airport airline is usually the one to aim for!
Stretch your legs
Feeling sluggish can stifle your creativity and concentration. Walk round the airport before your flight – or have a massage if you’re in one of the premium lounges. While you’re on the flight, try to stretch your legs and pace the length of the cabin every now and then.
During the flight, you can minimise disruptions by pre-packing your own water or light snacks, choosing a window seat, and using noise-cancelling headphones. If peace and quiet is really important to you, it might be worth considering an upgrade.
Be prepared to work without Wi-Fi
On the flight, and possibly around the airport, you’ll need to be prepared to work without access to Wi-Fi. Access can be patchy and you certainly won’t be able to work online during take-off and landing.
Don’t forget to take a break
Staying organised and planning ahead makes it easier and less stressful to work while travelling, but you still need a break now and then. Working too hard can lead to burnout, so be kind to yourself. Say hello to your neighbour – you never know what they could bring to the conversation. Wonder at the sheer marvelousness of human engineering as you fly through the clouds 40,000 feet above the earth. Or give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of mindfulness or meditation.
Make the most of the quiet time
Writers in the Harvard Business Review, Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz, argue that the busier you are, the more you need quiet time and that switching off can boost your inspiration and creativity. They cite fellow HBR contributor Hal Gregersen who wrote: “it’s in those modes of attention that truly novel ideas are found.” Do as Talbot-Zorn and Marz suggest and “embrace these moments and see them as what they are: time well spent.”
Need help scheduling your flight or adding on fast-track passage or lounge access deals? Your Travel Counsellor can help.