Just because business travelers are out of office, doesn't mean they're not at work.
According to Expedia, 39% of business travelers say they spend more time working on the road than they do in the office. That statistic was likely much smaller a decade ago, when Wi-Fi was less prevalent and smartphones were in their infancy.
Today, however, business travelers have become adept at setting up mobile offices on the fly — whether at the airport, in the car or in their hotel room. There's no reason to fall behind just because you're on the road.
Here are six ways business travelers can stay plugged-in and productive when they're on the go.
1. Make sure all of your devices stay charged wherever you are
Habitual business travelers are familiar with the stomach-churning feeling of having a computer or phone die in the middle of an important meeting. Today, many travel with so many devices (tablets, laptops, cameras, smartphones) that they can barely keep up with their charging rotation.
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Charging should never consume your evening, or put you on edge throughout the day. Check out these unconventional ways to keep your devices powered up as you work through your business itinerary.
- QBracelet wearable charger looks like a piece of jewelry but has a much more practical purpose — it can be unfolded and plugged into your iPhone or Android device to deliver a charge of up to 60%. Keep it with you as you travel; the bracelet's charge lasts for about 90 days in standby mode.
- The SunVolt portable solar panel charger is easy to slip into any briefcase or carry-on luggage next to your tablet or laptop. When you need power in your mobile "office," plug up to two devices into the 10-watt panel and let the sun's energy do the rest.
- The TYLT Energi+ Backpack is a helpful mobile charger and storage accessory for business travelers who have multiple stops in their daily itinerary and won't have consistent access to a power source. The high-tech attaché has seven pockets that can be directly routed to a removable and rechargeable lithium ion battery, so your devices can stay powered as you move.
2. Stay connected as you move
Camped out at an airport service counter, hunkered down in a booth at a restaurant, stuffed into a train cabin — these are just a few of the many makeshift office environments business travelers find themselves working in.
Is there always reliable Wi-Fi? Probably not. Constantly searching, connecting and disconnecting can sap your productivity and potentially cause you to lose some of your work.
Instead of struggling to find an outside Internet connection when you're outside of your hotel or the airport, grab a Verizon Jetpack mobile hotspot before you leave. The device can connect up to 15 of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the company's 4G LTE network. The Jetpack can even charge your devices while they're connected.
When you're in your hotel, a personal router can help your share the Wi-Fi connection with all your devices. The Satechi Smart Travel Router is a three-in-one router, charger and plug adapter. For travelers, the Satechi router eliminates the need for multiple power adapters. The device's built-in adapter works in 150 countries. Use it to expand your in-room coverage so you can get your tablet, computer and phone online.
3. Synchronize all of your devices so you can work wherever you are, even offline
Business travelers don't need to own only Apple devices to take advantage of iCloud. The cloud-based storage service and productivity center allows travelers to work in transit on their iPhone to send documents, PDFs and presentations from their phone to an Apple computer or PC, which makes accessing your work in your hotel room seamless.
For long plane rides without Internet, travelers can still view files and edit documents using Google Drive, which has an offline access setting.
4. Use your smartphone to manage your itinerary and get more out of meetings
- TripIt: Corporate travel itineraries tend to be hectic and jumbled. Your flight information is in your inbox, your meeting schedule is stored in one app and your calendar is in another. Figuring out where you supposed to be and how you're going to get there takes away from time that's better spent working or preparing for a meeting. TripIt allows you to store all of your travel reservations in one place. If and when they change, TripIt identifies and accounts for the deviation. For flyers, TripIt can keep track of miles earned and can be used to change your seat or reschedule your flight.
- Refresh: If you're the business traveler who likes to clump meetings together, it can be difficult to take the time to prepare for each sit-down. Refresh is a mobile app that helps you know more about who you're meeting, before you get there. While the app isn't a substitute for the thorough research you're used to conducting, it'll trawl the Internet and social networks to help you learn the basics about someone — their areas of expertise, professional experience, published works, etc.
- Evernote: Evernote is a handy tool for those with jam-packed business itineraries. If you have six meetings and two presentations to attend, capturing every important morsel of information can be difficult if not outright impossible. Evernote, on the other hand, allows you to document thoughts from your meetings and insights you had on the trip over. The app also allows you to clip web articles and turn your clipping and musings into a web presentation that you can share with colleagues.
5. Put away the computer and try a brain game
If you're a regular business traveler with a heavy week of work ahead, try briefly de-emphasizing your work during a short flight so you can concentrate on a brain game. Whether you're a millennial or an older adult, brain games like Sudoku and cognitive exercise platforms like Lumosity can help your mind reinforce problem-solving and logic skills when on the road.
A study from 2013 indicated that real-time strategy games boost cognitive flexibility, a.k.a. your brain's ability to swap between concepts. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older adults who participated in a brief course of brain exercises displayed improvements in reasoning skills and cognitive processing speed that were still evident as long as ten years after the course ended.
6. Turn your hotel room into a productivity den
You might be surprised to discover just how productive you can be in a hotel room setting. No constant barrages of noise, no coworkers coming by your desk — it's just you, your projects and your ideas.
Though you're out of the office, try recreating some in-office conditions in your hotel room.First, adjust your thermostat to 77 degrees. At that temperature,Cornell University researchers found typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output rose 150 percent.
Then, try to replicate your normal rhythms. If you're accustomed to working through emails and then diving into projects, don't alter your routine just because you're in a different setting. If you eat lunch at your desk at noon, order room service at 11:30 a.m. so it gets there by noon. Then, if you're in the habit of going for a walk at 4 p.m. to unwind before the last few hours of work, use Yelp to find a nearby park that you can drive or walk to.
Tags: BUSINESS, BUSINESS TRAVEL, GADGETS, JOBS, MOBILE CHARGERS, PRODUCTIVITY, SMALL BUSINESS, SMOOTH TRAVELER, STARTUPS, TRAVEL & LEISURE, TRAVEL TECH, WORK & PLAY