MORE WORK, less fun.
Business travel is no way comparable when we travel on vacation or leisure, where we can set that out of office message – “Delayed response to email. No internet connection during this period of time”. Business travel is “I will respond to email as soon as I can”. Obviously, these are two different statements. And traveling for work is most of the time no fun at all.
While we enjoy the perks of staying in luxurious accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets on the side, attending a meeting the whole day and working at night are physically and mentally draining. Preparation for business travel is not easy either, most especially if we are actively participating in all of the discussions and we have to work on a strategy and presentations. It may sound appealing going on business travel to some degree, but this is more like BUSINESS over travel, not the other way around. Some people may look at it as pleasure or leisure, but people who do it quite often know how taxing it is.
I am a random traveler. Which means that I am not traveling full time as most of the travel bloggers out there. I have my regular office job and find time to travel for leisure 2 or 3 times a year. My job requires me to travel and most of the time I love it, but there are times it can be really draining and tiring.
This year, I already had 3 business trips. I went to Jakarta earlier this year to meet my affiliates in Indonesia. I normally spend 2 to 3 days providing updates about our processes, organization, support and service we offer, all the likes. Presenting, talking and listening to the affiliates the whole day really makes the whole trip tiring but fulfilling in the end. Apart from meetings, I have spent half of May attending two weeklong conferences back to back. I am not complaining about these opportunities though I had to give up my two weekends to travel. I went to Siem Reap for the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) Meeting and Bangkok for our company Regional Meeting. As I write this post, I am off to Germany for a Regulatory Team Meeting. While these consumed my energy that much, going home with new experiences, knowledge, and new people met in between the networking breaks outweighs the much-needed rest.
So, what do people going on business travel do? Mind you, it is not just boarding the plane and off we go, there’s more to it than business class, champagne on air, luxurious accommodation and buffets.
Here are some of the things we do or perhaps most of us do:
- Meeting Preparation. Most of us prepare the materials and presentations before the meeting. We study the report, we formulate presentations (or ask somebody to prepare) and we ready the answers to possible questions from the audiences. And these takes a lot of effort, time, and resources.
- Talk, Participate and Listen. We don’t just sit and do nothing in a meeting. Most of the time, we are actively participating, interacting and listening. We go to meetings not only to meet people but to learn, provide information or update, explain technical information and provide strategy. We need to be on our toes, most especially if we are presenting and questions are being raised after your presentation. It is not easy.
- Work at night. Of course after a whole day meeting, our emails will pile up and these need to be read and replied to. We have our customers waiting and we cannot lose that, can we? So, after a very long day, we need to do our regular work before dozing off for the rest of the night.
- Feedback and report. It does not end right after the meeting. After our active participation and finally going back to home base, that much-needed rest will come after we finish our report and feedback to our team or to our boss.
Does it sound FUN and EXCITING? Of course, it is. For us, this is the life that we chose and we love the challenges that come with it. It may take us away from the norm but this is the life we are living and it takes a matter of time to get used to it.