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The Secret of Mobile Business

It can be untrue that employees are unhappy with company policy for corporate travel. Employees like to know what I expect of them and how to comply with a corporate policy as long as that policy is fair and gives them the ability to do what they need to do on the road.

So well thought out corporate travel policy is a benefit to the company and the business traveler alike.

If it has been given to you to put together a corporate travel policy, your mission from the company’s standpoint is to develop a policy that standardizes business expenses, eliminates waste and excess on the road, and puts some controls around that part of the business expense picture. So there are some definite focus areas you should include in the stated corporate policy, including…

  • Reservations. Suppose you use a travel agent that is looking for the best deal for the company. The best rates can be identified and taken advantage of, but only while making sure the business traveler’s needs to meet the business aim of the trip are satisfied. Requiring that employees use the corporate travel agent again is not harsh, and it clarifies for the employee how to handle the situation.
  • Use of credit. It is a bit of effort and expense to set up corporate credit cards that you can require your traveling employees to use. But by trapping expenses to the corporate account, you can get a record of a good percentage of the business expenses that the employee is incurring. Many of the travel expenses such as airline and hotel can be directly billed back to the company, thus taking both the hassle and the opportunity for creativity out of the hands of the business traveler.
  • Travel rewards. If you have your corporate travel coordinated by an internal or external travel agency, corporate accounts with the major airlines can be established so the business can collect the frequent flyer miles. The business can redeem those miles and realize those benefits as a significant discount on the travel that must be paid for.
  • Daily limits. Your corporate travel policy must communicate clearly to the traveling employee what their limits are for hotel, rental car, and meals on the road. You want to head off before it starts any tendency by the employee to go to expensive restaurants and see the business trip as some form of all expenses paid vacation. But you also must allow for some leverage for the employee to eat well while traveling. Someone should review annually this part of the policy to update to current costs.
  • Reporting. One of the chief complaints employees has about corporate travel policies is that the expense reporting system is cryptic and hard to fill. You will give the employee a standardized form that each traveler must fill out to get reimbursed for expenses while traveling. But review these forms and even design your own so the format is understandable and you have categories to cover many expenses the employee might encounter.

Your corporate travel policies should include some leverage for employees who face exceptional situations along with these general categories. Room and food expenses can vary widely depending on where the employee must travel. 

So you don’t want to set the hotel limit to $125 per night because it is reasonable to stay in a comfortable hotel for that rate in Lincoln, Nebraska but enforce that same limitation for an employee who must do business in New York City.  

Suppose you create good general policies to cover your employees while they are on the road. In that case, there is a win-win situation for you and your employees, and there will be a productive outcome that is cost effective for the company overall. 

Don't fall for Travel Anxiety

Do not fall for the old anxiety of forgetting to turn off the oven that arises while traveling. While that is a domestic story, there is just as much or more anxiety about getting on the road for a business purpose as there is for private travel. The details that must be taken care of by putting a business trip on the road can be overwhelming.

It is easy to develop an anxiety complex when going on a business trip and getting to where you are in a constant state of stress and worry that you have forgotten something or that there is an important detail left undone before you left. This stress anxiety can destroy your business goals for the trip. So you need some basic concepts that you can go back to just before the business trips get underway, and as you get on the road, you have some ammunition to combat travel anxiety en route.

  • Call in the troops. One big way to stop travel anxiety in its tracks is to use your business partners to help you prepare for the trip. Likely, several people in your chain of command or your department have a vested interest in seeing the trip you are setting out to accomplish as a success. Use their help to plan the trip and develop detailed checklists of what must happen before you leave and what has to go with you. Then on the day before you depart, meet with those associates and review those lists. As you check off each thing, insist that your associate initial the list to validate that the detail was taken care of. Then take the list with you. By consulting with it often, you can calm yourself that you took care of all the details along the way.
  • Did you forget your head? Ok, so you have an excellent system to make sure all of your business needs are covered; the next level of anxiety comes when you are sitting on the airplane, and you wonder if you packed everything you need for travel personally. There are a couple of antidotes to this type of travel anxiety. First, use a similar checklist system to ensure you have what you need on the flight. You can develop a travel checklist that you maintain and update from business trip to business trip. As you use that list for each trip, you will discover any missing items or things to do and update the list. And by checking each need off as you take care of it before you travel, you can calm that nervous system of yours that you have done everything, so it’s time to relax.
  • What do you need after all? Second, if that checklist system has dozens of items and issues on it, that simple question can eliminate much of that. It is very little you need that you cannot get there if you forgot something at home. You must have your airline tickets, driver’s license, and credit card, and any special medication that cannot be found at your destination. If you have plenty of credit, there is little else you cannot buy at your destination point if you forgot something or another. Comfort yourself that the trip won’t grind to a halt if you forgot something.
  • But what if? That question literally can drive you insane. If you let yourself think about whether the plane will crash or if your dog dies while you are away or the hundred of other “what ifs” that might happen, you will turn into a ball of anxiety before the first flight is done. So the answer to “but what if?” is “that has not happened so far and the odds it will happen this time are remote.” Use some logic and adult thinking to combat the emotional urge to worry.

The urge to worry is natural in all of us. It’s part of your urgent desire to do well on the road. But be sure you take time out on the road to relax to help make your business trip a success. 

How to Handle a Crisis when Traveling for Business

Business traveling can be a hassle relying on the reliability of public transport. That means you are going to have to deal with airports, security procedures, crowds of “non-business” travelers around you at all times, and the inevitable delay or canceled flight.

As a business traveler, you have a mission to complete. This is not necessarily an adventure, nor is it something you are doing for fun. It’s business, and you handle it as a business. If you frequently travel on business, you have a standard process to handle waiting for flights and how to store and retrieve travel documents when needed.

Most of the time, we had to handle enormous crowds around us. After all those families on vacation, groups of teenagers on spring break, or young couples on honeymoon have as much right to the airways and the airports as you do. But everything changes when flights get canceled, especially if you are when so they cancel many flights. Someone will strand large amounts of people in that airport overnight.

When such a situation looms, it is easy to sense that feeling of panic rises as you sense it happening in those around you. Inexperienced travelers may not understand how to handle this situation. But as a business traveler, you are there doing the bidding of your company. You probably are on an expense account of some sort, and you should have good credit that you can use to navigate this situation. So if you see an airport shutdown situation happening around you, you may ask yourself that question, “Is this a good time to panic?” The answer is no. But it is a good time to act fast, so I met your needs.

It is always a good idea to keep your wits about yourself in an airport situation so you can take action early if you see an airport shutdown situation happening around you. The thing to remember is that you are the one in control here, and you do not have to let yourself be put at the whim of the airlines or the airport. But detecting the crisis coming early is the key and taking quick action.

Often as flights get canceled, you may find yourself in long lines to try to rebook flights or find a solution to the problem. Realize that if the airport stops all flights due to weather or other reasons, there is no resolution waiting for you when you get to the front of the line. And staying in line will only add to your sense of crisis and panic.

So get out of that line! You have the resources to make accommodations for yourself. The last thing you want is to have to spend the night at that airport. If you can get another form of transportation, you can still get to your destination, albeit a little late. But it will flood rental car agencies with people who, like you, are looking for a solution. So the earlier you can diagnose the situation as not acceptable and get a car, the faster you can leave the airport and head for a hotel or your destination.

Use the same strategy in booking a room at a nearby motel or hotel. If you can get to private accommodations for the night, you can work, make your phone calls and preserve your energies, so you can conduct business well once the crisis is passed. The key is to stay calm and deal with the situation quickly and efficiently using your hand’s resources.

The Secret of Mobile Business

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The Secret of Mobile Business

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