Remember the good old days when it was rare to be stuck in an airport for more than a few hours?
Unfortunately, those days are history. In an era characterized by high passenger volumes, overbooking and security nightmares, travel delays have become routine. And for business travelers, that means getting used to the fact that you may be nowhere near the places you need to be for good portions of the workday.
Believe it or not, airports and hotels can be highly productive work environments. Since the potential for distractions is limited, you can get a lot done in a short period of time. But to do it, you'll need to approach travel disruptions as opportunities rather than problems. With a little intentionality, here are just some of the productive business activities you can do when your travel itinerary gets turned upside down.
- Organize your life. When they're caught up in the daily grind, business leaders often put off the task of organizing their lives. An airport or hotel room is a perfect place to work on schedules, expense accounts, and other organizational tasks that have been waiting on the backburner.
- Social networking. Social media is taking center stage as a way for brands to connect with consumers. The next time you're stuck in a terminal, take advantage of the airport's Wi-Fi network and spend some time social networking. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts require activity to be effective, and a travel delay is a perfect opportunity to update your online presence.
- Catch up on reading. Despite the noise and activity, airports can be great places to catch up on your reading. Get in the habit of packing at least one or two books in your carry-on – or better yet, pick up an e-reader so you can download titles directly from the terminal.
- Network with other business travelers. If it's any comfort, you won't be the only business traveler affected by an unexpected travel delay. So why not spend time networking with your fellow passengers? Even if your efforts don't result in any prospects, you'll hone your networking skills and meet some fascinating people.
- Write PR & marketing content. Remember how you've always wanted to author a white paper about your company's unique value proposition? A travel delay may offer the inspiration you need to fire up the laptop and starting turning ideas into words on the page.