Women Managers on the Go / Alexia Giugni: Delays Must Be Foreseen and ExploitedHOW TO WIN THE CHALLENGE OF CONTINUOUS FLIGHTS IN THE WORDS OF THE BOCCONI ALUMNA, NOW MANAGING DIRECTOR OF DWS GROUP
Many of us, who work for international groups where traveling is a key ingredient of a career, when asked "Where are you based?", are tempted to answer: "On a plane!"
It is an answer that always arouses sympathy and this shows that the fact of traveling for work is seen by most as a necessary evil, an important use of time and energy and a generator of stress. The fact of being always connected, accessible and productive, thanks to smartphones and tablets completes the picture.
"Of course, you're always on the road, but you can work anyway!" Is often the next comment. Unfortunately it is not always like this. Even the most organized of us, the ones that as soon as the plane touches 30 thousand feet, lower the tray table, pull out the PC and open sophisticated worksheets, do not have the same quality of work as in the office. Not to mention the risk that a competitor, sitting behind or beside, gets a spying peek at our screen. So I use my time on the plane to read and think, and I make sure to arrive at the airport always at least an hour ahead of time on the flight, so as not to be out of breath when I get there.
If there is a lounge available, fine, otherwise I use the wait to make a phone call or take care of my e-mail. I have also decided not to consider the inevitable delays as an area to worry about. I always assume 30 or 40 minutes of delay of the flight or the train that I will have to take and if there is no delay, then there will be a bit of waiting in a café near my meeting place. This expands travel time, but reduces stress. When traveling also means visiting new cities, I try to look out of the taxi window and exchange a few words with the driver. I take some pictures, I pretend to be a tourist. If the hotel is near a park, has a nice gym, or a swimming pool, I always bring what is necessary for physical activity, which is often neglected in our travels, and I avoid heavy dinners if they are not scheduled as business meetings.
Better to rent a small room, but quiet - the quality of sleep away from home is worth gold. This allows me to "draw a line" between work commitments and personal life even off-site, and then return home to be able to devote myself to my family without other commitments. My recipe is to see in business travel an opportunity to learn new things, meet different people with whom to do business and therefore an enriching experience. Eliminating the stress of travel allows you to be less tired when you return home and to view travel not as suffering, but something you can always face with enthusiasm.
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by Andrea Celauro
Translated by Richard Greenslade