In this increasingly service-oriented and partner-based economy, mobility has become critical to workforces of all sorts. Employees are constantly on the go - working at client sites, at home, branch offices or with business partners across town and across the globe. In fact, research studies have estimated that over 54 million American employees are currently involved in some form of remote work – equaling more mobile workers than the total combined population of California and New York.
How can a business traveler stay organized and productive while on the road? Here are some ways that the mobile executive can keep focused and be efficient while traveling. Whether you are a first time traveler or a seasoned road warrior, these tips will be useful.
1. Carry Pen and Paper: Even in the digital age, the most low-tech solution is still the best, so always be equipped with a pen, pencil, highlighter and notepad. You might need to just dash off a message or take notes, but remember - paper and pen will always work during a power failure.
2. Be Tech Savvy: Advances in technology are making it easier to be a mobile executive, and having the latest technology at your fingertips such as a cell phone, wireless e-mail, PDA, lap-top computer- will help stay in touch and in sync with your office, your colleagues and your clients.
3. Do Your Research: Do your homework and research the area of where you are going before you get there. This includes noting the currency exchange, places to stay, nightlife entertainment, appropriate attire, restaurants for you and your clients, car service/car rental information, and the distance between the airport and your destination. Be aware of the do’s and don’ts of where you are going and dress accordingly, you don’t want to end up dressed too formally or too casually for your destination.
4. Bring Batteries: Sure, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it is important to have batteries to back up all of the technological products you may have with you. And, don’t forget the charger for your cell phone!
5. Take Business Cards: Always carry extra business cards on you, and keep them in an easy-to-reach place. When traveling, your business card is your calling card, and you want to make sure to have enough with you to give out to important clients, business partners and new contacts.
6. Keep Important Information Close: Keep your license, passport, tickets and directions to your destination in an easy but safe spot close by. Always keep this on hand, in briefcase or on your body, perhaps in a fanny pack or an inner jacket pocket, and never pack your traveling information - always keep it accessible.
7. Bring Office Essentials: I always suggest carrying special organizers for paper files and presentations with you, along with an expanding organizer for all of your paper-based files to keep at your fingertips. This will keep your files handy when you reach your destination.
8. Color-Code Your Files: Color-code papers to save time looking for the variety of documents you need to carry with you. Color-coding keeps your papers visually accessible, making it easier to locate your paperwork when it is organized by color.
9. Stay on Top of Finances: Keep a daily journal of all expenses associated with your traveling so that you can reconcile the money spent upon your return. Travelers should be aware of hidden costs, special surcharges and taxes, especially from hotels.
10. Stock up on Literature: Always carry reading material to keep you occupied, since clients can run late and planes may be delayed. You can also use this time to review your notes, peruse a business journal, catch up on a proposal or return phone calls.
Sharon Mann is an organizational expert for Pendaflex the world's leading maker of innovative organizing products and solutions. Sharon also serves as president of the Pendaflex® “I Hate Filing" club a dedicated group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who dislike filing but enjoy finding new ways to become more organized and more productive in the workplace. For more information visit: http://www.pendaflex.com