Is Business Travel a Blessing or a Curse?

It’s fun to travel with colleagues.  No, really.  Back when I worked at Computer Associates, my whole team traveled from New York City to Las Vegas once a year for our company’s annual trade show.  After the highs and lows, only a harried week of work in Vegas can provide, I really bonded with these people.  Many years later, I still keep in touch with many of them.  And I still love Vegas.

Traveling with co-workers, however, involves a set of informal rules of which it’s helpful to be aware.  Here are a few that I’ve learned over time.

  1. Don’t insist on sitting together on the plane.

Plane etiquette is tricky.  Some people don’t mind gabbing away the whole time, while others would like nothing more than sit silently with their iPad and relish the calm before their trip’s storm.  Because it can be difficult to ascertain your co-worker’s camp and awkward if you get it wrong, sit apart unless you can’t avoid it.  You can probably use the quiet time yourself.

  1. Do use the trip as an opportunity.

During a trip, you will probably have more chances to converse with your colleagues than usual.  Use the time to get to know them as human beings.  Express curiosity about their family and hobbies and be open in answering their questions about your lifestyle.  The closer you become when you travel, the stronger your relationship will be back at the office.

  1. Don’t let your guard down too far.

Of course, there is such a thing as getting too close.  Always look presentable and avoid inappropriate conversation topics such as sex, drugs, current personal struggles, mean-spirited gossip, and anything you’d be embarrassed about if your boss found out.  Never use a business trip to launch a physical or sexual relationship.  Even if you are both single, this is not the time or the place and you risk embarrassing yourself and the organization.

May 2020 be full of exciting opportunities to build your professional worldview – both at home and away!

 

Alexandra Levit