A guide to business travel

When you are travelling on behalf of your company, it’s important to remember that you are not only representing yourself or your department, but your entire organisation. Executive coach Anele Chonco says that unlike a holiday, the trip isn’t all about you.

“While it may be tempting to let loose and chill, you need to keep the mission and specific goals of the trip in mind. Simply put, business trips are an extension of the office, so the contractual rules, policies and procedures set out by your employer are still applicable,” she says.

Behaviours to avoid 

Chonco suggests being more sociable and enjoying the company of your colleagues, but always maintaining professional boundaries.

  • Dress code: The way you dress says a lot about how you feel about yourself and your company. Dressing too casually may leave you looking like you’re on a holiday, so stick to casual business attire or formal wear when the occasion calls for it.
  • Don’t share too many personal details: Business travel requires a mature understanding of what your responsibilities are as a colleague. While it’s advisable to socialise, overly intimate conversations could lead to awkwardness and tension.
  • Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much could lead to embarrassment for yourself and your company, so take it easy.
  • Avoid negativity: Do not entertain any negative company, comments or gossip.

How to make the trip a success:

Remember the task at hand 

Draw up an agenda before you embark on your journey to ensure that you know what it is expected of you and how you plan to achieve your goals.

Do your research

It’s important to research your destination to avoid appearing naive or disrespecting anyone. Research the culture, customs and laws of the place you are visiting. Also, find out what is considered appropriate attire and how to greet locals.

Be prepared

Ensure that you have everything you need for your trip by compiling a list before hand. If you are travelling abroad, double check your passport and visa requirements.

Work well with others

Ensure that you co-operate and collaborate with others, especially if you are travelling as part of a bigger team.

Build bonds

Take the time to get to know your colleagues and share ideas – just don’t get too comfortable.

Manage your time

Plan your schedule so that you have enough time to rest before business activities commence. If you are visiting a new destination, try to schedule some time for sightseeing.

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