Five Ways to Go Paperless for Your Business Travel

December 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel is usually an exercise in packing light so you can move fast. It means not carrying a big suitcase — road warriors definitely do not check their bags — and it means not carrying a heavy briefcase.

One way to lighten your load is to stop carrying papers. Many offices are trying to cut back on paper usage, especially since a lot of it gets thrown away or recycled, and the rest gets stored away, likely to never be seen again.

Consider this from Entrepreneur magazine: One four-drawer filing cabinet holds as much as 20,000 pages, costs $25,000 to fill, and $2,000 to maintain each year.

A desktop free of paper, except for a couple of notebooks. This is a great way to go paperless.Eliminating paper from your office saves money; eliminating it from your briefcase saves you from a backache.

It’s possible to avoid nearly all paper in your life if you go digital, keeping everything stored in the cloud and on your laptop and phone. You’ll never have to haul paper around again, and you’ll have easy access to everything you thought you’d need.

Here are five ways to eliminate paper from your business travel, and your life overall.

1. Use a business card scanner.

You can cut down on the number of business cards given to you by scanning them as soon as you receive them. Use an app like Evernote or FullContact to scan the cards. It takes a few seconds for each card, and then you can pitch the card or give it back to the person who gave it to you.

Then with an automation service like If This, Then That or Zapier, you can sync those scanned cards up with your phone’s contacts, Google Contacts, or LinkedIn profile.

2. Use an app to scan in all documents you receive.

Just like you can scan business cards into your phone, you can use a similar app like Evernote or Evernote’s Scannable app to scan new documents.

If you’re given a contract or even a meeting agenda, you can scan it quickly with Scannable and send it to yourself or upload it to your favorite cloud storage service. Tag it with a few keywords to remind you what the document is about, and you can always find it later on. Then just give the original back to the other person, or recycle it immediately.

3. Ask people to email PDFs and Docs to you.

If someone hands you a printed piece of paper, there’s a better than 99% chance they created it on a computer. And if they did that, they can email a copy to you instead. Which means there’s no reason to carry the paper around in the first place.

Most office people use Microsoft Word, which creates small documents that can be easily emailed. Even Apple users can open a Word document in Apple’s Pages word processor, which means both Windows and Macintosh users can open them.

Ask for all meeting agendas, notes, and other documents to be emailed to you instead of being printed out, and be sure to do the same thing for them.

If you don’t want people to be able to change or edit your document, export it to a PDF. It’s under the File –> Export menu in both Pages and Word. Then just send the new copy onto whoever needs it, and store your version in the cloud or on your hard drive.

4. Use Docu-Sign to sign contracts.

If you’ve ever had a contract emailed to you, you’ve probably been told you need to print it, sign it, scan it, and send it back.

You don’t. At all. With an app like Docu-Sign, Adobe Reader, or even Preview for Mac, you can open the emailed contract, sign it electronically, and email it back to the sender. You haven’t created any paper, and the signature is just as legally binding as if you wasted part of a tree to do it. Plus, if you use something like Docu-Sign, the document is time stamped with your signature as well. You can even import a real signature as a jpeg and drop it in, so it looks like you actually did print and scan it.

Docu-Sign works on your phone, tablet, or laptop, and you can save your signed contracts to your favorite cloud storage service, rather than stuffing it in a filing cabinet for later referral.

5. Store and share your documents via the cloud.

If you’ve got important documents you need to save, whether you’ve scanned them in via Scannable, or someone sent you a PDF or Word document, you can save them to a cloud-based service like Dropbox or Google Drive, which are easily accessible as long as you’ve got a wifi connection. Save all your documents to the cloud service and then just access them as you need them.

But just because the documents are in the cloud doesn’t mean you’re cut off if you don’t have wifi. Dropbox creates a folder on your laptop and stores a version of your documents there; it stores the original if you’re the one who created the document. And it’s possible to use Google Drive offline with a simple change.

Share documents with colleagues electronically, keep documents you might need later, and make changes and upload the updates at your convenience. Additionally, several people can work on a single document at once on Google Drive (Microsoft 365 does this as well), letting you make changes and updates together.

Finally, Google Drive can open Microsoft Word documents, so you can ask your colleagues to share documents with you in Google Drive and you can open them there.

You can adopt a paperless practice for your business travel if you just follow these steps. Ask people to email documents to you, but scan them in when someone hands paper to you. Sign contracts electronically so you don’t have to keep a real copy, and store everything in the cloud so you don’t have to lug it all around in case you need it.

Bonus: Never print out your tickets; always use your airline’s app

Rather than printing out your boarding pass at home, or printing it at the check-in kiosk at the airport, just download your airline’s app, and check in 24 hours before your flight. When you get to the airport you can use the special code on your phone to scan your way through security and onto the plane.

How do you go paperless for your business travel? Do you just carry big notebooks around and hope you might need the paper, or have you embraced the 21st century and gone on a paper fast? Share your ideas and techniques with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Stay Productive on the Road: These Companies Have a Desk For You

October 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

When traveling for business, you want space: space for your laptop, space for your phone, space to work, and a place to possibly even hold a meeting. But where can you find all this in order to stay productive?

Look no further than Spacious, a solution to “space” when working outside the office. Spacious turns restaurant dining areas into workspaces when they’re not actually open for business. The service has grown to nearly 20 locations since its debut just two years ago.

According to a recent article in USA Today, Emily Merrell, founder of Six Degrees Society joined Spacious last September. In less than a year, Merrell was so impressed by Spacious, she began using various locations for her office. In fact, when she recently moved to San Francisco, Merrell continued to use Spacious to run Six Degrees, an organization she created and which organizes networking events for women.

“I like the flexibility and that I can go to many locations,” she says. “In New York, I literally will go to the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side and Brooklyn, to three or four spaces in a day.”
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Five Ways to Boost Productivity While You Travel

September 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling for work can be considered a perk — in fact, many people often look for jobs with it — but for some it becomes a drain on productivity which can lose that high momentum normally happening at the office.

Between traveling to the airport, sitting at the gate, and sitting on the tarmac, productivity can plummet when you travel. But just five small changes can make a world of difference.

Work from the bottom up. Consider the way you typically attack the top of your priority list first. When you’re traveling, start at the bottom when you’re at the airport and on the plane. While these items may require attention, they’re probably not intensive and may not require a great deal of attention or focus. You can probably do them on auto-pilot or without straining your brain.

A coffee shop is a great place to be productive while you travel.

Cup Deal Online Business Drinks Coffee Shop


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How Tech Has Transformed Business Travelers’ Productivity

January 9, 2018 by · 1 Comment 

If you were taking bets on whether business travelers would say their time on the road boosted their productivity, would you wager that a large percentage says it does? Or do you think most people say their travels have cut into their productivity?

If you said the former, you’d be right. According to a survey by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, 80 percent of business travelers claim that technology has greatly increased their ability to get work done while away from the office.

(Part of it may also be from not having to attend so many meetings.)

Many business travelers take their laptops with them to get work done.With a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop — the top three “travel tools” business travelers declared they couldn’t live without — no longer do people lament over lost time spent en route to clients. The advent of wifi in the sky and almost everywhere in between, downtime is almost a thing of the past. Business travelers utilize flight time and layovers, as well as time in hotel rooms to catch up on correspondence, complete proposals, and send documents wirelessly to keep projects on schedule.

“The business traveler can be so much more productive than even five years ago thanks to technology,” said Simon Nowroz, Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s CMO told Travelpulse.com, a travel news site. “Think about the advances where a business traveler used to have so much down time between a flight, taxi and hotel. Now, they can log in and work while on the plane or wherever they happen to be. With the continued emergence of the tablet, as well as numerous apps, travelers don’t feel out of touch as they carry out business.”

This ability to continue working whenever and wherever has prompted many — 78 percent — to actively seek ways to travel for business. Nearly nine of 10 survey respondents also claimed that they gained significant knowledge and perspective as a result of their business travels.

How do these road warriors stay connected while away from the office? Email is still the prevalent method of communication with 44 percent selecting it as their primary means of keeping in touch. Surprisingly, nearly 24 percent make phone calls while only 14 percent prefer to text important information to those back at the office.

Three other modes of technology cited as helpful in maintaining connectedness with loved ones were phone calls (44 percent), Skype (24 percent), and texting (14 percent).

Business travelers, do you stay more productive when you’re on the road? Or do you find that you lose productive work time because of time in the car or in the air? How do you stay in touch with loved ones and the office while you’re traveling? Share your ideas with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: ChrisDag (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

How to Network and Be Productive on the Road

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel can have a lot of perks and benefits: seeing new cities, meeting new people, gaining new knowledge, and closing important deals. But one of the unspoken downsides is the feeling of being cut off from what’s going on at the office and at home. Those feelings can lead to productivity paralysis, but there are ways to maintain and even increase your productivity while on the road.

Network with people as a way to stay productive on the road, and lay the groundwork for future relationships.Network. It may be an informal hotel happy hour or the opening reception at a conference, but meeting new people in these environments often has unexpected positive results. You might learn about a new line of products or meet a potential client, or strategize about working the vendor floor at a trade show. This casual collaboration will stimulate your productivity and simultaneously boost your serotonin (one of the brain’s chemicals responsible for happiness).

Schedule downtime. Restorative activities such as a massage, spa treatment, a quick workout, or even a leisurely walk can help clear your mind and allow you to shed stress and refocus. Team building activities can enhance productivity by providing an opportunity to decompress from the treadmill of work, work, work.
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Travel Top Five: Traveling in Comfort

February 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the years, we’ve talked about traveling light, being efficient, and not taking things you can live without. But that doesn’t mean living a spartan, uncomfortable existence, where you can’t wait for your trip to be over. We still want you to be comfortable.

Everyone has personal standards for comfort. For some, it’s their pillow from home, or wearing their favorite jeans. Often, business travelers have certain standards and efficiencies they should maintain, so curling up on the plane in sweatpants with a pillow is probably not a good idea.

Here are five ways you can be more comfortable when you travel, without looking too out of place or sacrificing packing space and efficiency.

Let’s start with shoes. You’ll be on your feet — through security, through the terminal, through the parking lot, and through the lobby to your client — a good bit of the day. The best way to stay comfortable is to invest in comfort that will carry you, literally, through your trip: get a pair of walking shoes. There are plenty of stylish options that look just as professional, and your feet will thank you.
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7 Ways to Stay Productive While Traveling

January 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

All that time you spend waiting for your flight, sitting on the plane, and commuting to your hotel can be productive time instead of wasted time. You just need to develop a strategy and create the proper mindset. Here are some tips to help you stay productive while traveling.

Plan ahead. You may be geared up to empty your inbox, but if your laptop’s not charged, you aren’t going to make much headway. Be sure to download any documents you need before you leave in order to accomplish a task you’ve relegated to be completed en route. This eliminates the need for wifi or using your mobile hotspot.

A woman typing on a laptop, presumably staying productive while traveling.

Make sure your laptop battery is charged before you ever leave the house!

Use the time you have wisely. If you’re in a crowded gate or you have a limited amount of time, now is not the time to read through correspondence or memos that require your full attention. Choose some B-level items to check off your to-do list, like those articles you’ve meant to skim for the last six months, and you’ll actually be more effective than if you try to tackle something that requires serious time and concentration.

Determine to focus. Yes, distractions are hard to tune out, but if you put yourself in that mindset, you can do it. Soon, you’ll find they’re calling your flight and you have more things accomplished — and time flew by — because you were able to shut out the distractions.
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5 Ways to Get Work Done while Traveling

January 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps the trickiest part of business travel is getting the work that is generated from that travel done while you’re not in the office. Here are some ways to keep your productivity at its peak even though you’re not sitting at your desk.

You may not think this first tip is an effective use of time, but we think it can be a game changer. Creating a strategy for completing the work you need to do before you dive in will give you a guide to keep you on task and on track once you hit the ground. Using your travel time to get organized may be the most helpful thing you can do to make the best use of your time once you arrive.

Fueled coworking space - ideal for business travelers

The Fueled startup space in New York.

Once you’ve formulated your strategy, organize your devices by decluttering your inbox by listening to voicemail messages, deleting junk emails, filing documents into folders, and clearing out old emails that you don’t need any more. Plowing through the plethora of unorganized details will translate into increased productivity when the real work begins.

Get your own hotspot. Don’t depend on the wifi at the airport or the hotel. Carriers have these portable devices, or your smartphone may have an integrated hotspot mode as part of their service. These provide truly high speed internet access on the go. For a monthly fee, which you may be able to expense, you have the peace of mind that you’ll have the internet you need to do your work anywhere, anytime. Plus it’s a lot more secure than public wifi.
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Five Tips for Getting Work Done While Traveling

March 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Most of us file travel days in the “lost” category, thanks to the amount of time squandered getting where we have to go. With the fast pace of business, you really can’t afford to lose days to travel. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your time while you’re traveling.

Of course, you need a comfortable place to work too. This is the Oslo Lounge at Gardermoen Airport.

Of course, you need a comfortable place to work too. This is the Oslo Lounge at Gardermoen Airport.

First of all, be smart in how you book your travel. Even if your company has someone responsible for arranging itineraries, it’s worth the extra time to investigate the best options and communicate them to your travel arranger. Don’t let that investigation become a time sink, though. It’s not worth saving $50 if it takes an hour of your billable time to find that savings. Time is money, and your time per hour needs to be invested wisely each day.

Commit to getting to your departure gate at least 45 minutes before boarding begins. This will give you time to check email and stay on top of whatever needs your attention before you’re unavailable for 2 – 4 hours. Running your timeline right to the wire — and showing up to the airport at the last possible minute — creates stress, which makes you less productive. Organize your time so you can have time to be useful to those who need to hear from you.
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How Protecting Time Off Improves Performance

September 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

These working vacations we’re so fond of, these take-your-laptop-to-check-email vacations we take with the family, may be harming our overall performance on the job.

A recent article by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) discusses the need for workers to take quality time off from their jobs.

These days, many folks cart laptops or at least smartphones with them and stay in touch during the entirety of their time “away” from the office. While this can be necessary at times, it can also lead to burn out and feelings that their vacation wasn’t truly a vacation.

English: Rental cabins near the Great Smoky Mo...

Why would you want to work when this is your view?! Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevier County, Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time off is something that supports employee buoyancy; the ability to bounce back easily from stressors. Buoyancy is something every employer should encourage because an office filled with stressed out, grumpy employees with no tolerance for stress creates even more stress for everyone.

“True time off” can be taken if the employee plans ahead of time. Amy Fox, the article’s author, says that her company lays out a timeline for employees before time off that includes planning for who will cover, and talking with clients about what will happen during the vacation. She says that she encourages employees never to use the phrase, “if you need to reach me.”

At TravelPro, we like to encourage everyone to take real time off and not do any work at all. While I don’t do any work while I’m away, I do like to go through my email once a day to make sure I don’t have a jammed inbox when I get back.

It’s even possible to extend vacations because of the capability to take care of simpler tasks on the go and leave very important tasks until you’re back in the office. Since many of us can work anywhere, why not spend a few weeks out of the office working from an Airbnb or vacation rental?

How do you spend your vacations? Do you shut everything off completely, or do you cheat and work while you’re gone?

Leave your favorite practices in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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