How to Make a Work Trip More About You (Less About the Job)

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The art of mixing business with leisure.

It’s indisputable: employees who are happy are more productive. We may search frantically for quick-fix solutions to the productivity conundrum, but creating a happier place to work is the key for both psychologically and physically switched-on employees. (How about this 3000-participant strong study that shows the link between a bad boss and equally bad heart health?)

In short, when you’re heading to a destination that isn’t your office on behalf of your workplace, you owe it to yourself and your employer to make it more than a work trip. Make it a bleisure trip. You’ll feel happier and more productive, and your employer will reap the benefits. Here are a few ways to sprinkle a little more leisure into your business travel.

Drop the guilt

The first thing to do is forget feeling bad for living a life while you’re working. Modern business travellers are far less likely to receive the perks they used to, despite the fact that they’re actually expected to work considerably harder, points out Flight Centre Business Travel manager Claire O’Mahony.

“No longer do most business travellers get to fly Business Class, nor do they travel during working hours,” she explains. “More often than not, companies are now introducing stricter travel policies to enforce Economy cabin travel only, and for the travel to occur outside of standard office hours.  Meaning that people are ‘working’ longer days, and are travelling in not as much comfort. With Wi-Fi on many of the aircraft now, staff are often expected to be working whilst in the air.

Devise a ‘play itinerary’ around your work one

When you’re visiting a new city for work, do your research and jot down at least five things to knock off while you’re there. The Time Out app is a rich directory of things to do, places to dine, and events worth checking out. The event finder tool is super handy, meaning you’ll never struggle to find gigs, festivals or one-off shindigs near you. You can also book restaurants through the app, so get busy.

If you’re staying in an Airbnb, kindly ask your host for suggestions because, after all, locals know best. People generally love sharing what they know and are proud of their home city, perhaps even offering to give you a walking tour. You’ll be much more likely to have access to great neighbourhood perks and cultural experiences if you’re staying in town, rather than an airport hotel that’s far from the action.

Know when to ask for an upgrade

You might fancy your chances of making your flight that little bit more comfortable by winking at the attendant behind the desk, but travel expert Claire doesn’t.

“I don’t encourage asking for an upgrade to check-in staff, because these days those complimentary upgrades are generally saved for the most high-status frequent flyers and VIPs,” she explains. “But I do encourage just asking your check-in staff how much it would be to upgrade your flight. Sometimes it can be a few hundred dollars to upgrade a 10-hour flight, and you go from sitting uncomfortably to lying flat and sipping champagne.”

Arriving at your destination refreshed and ready for a real workcation could be worth the extra dosh, especially if you’re on a tight time budget.

On that note, Flight Centre staff are experts when it comes to getting the most out of frequent flyer programs, so hit them up for advice if you’re looking for a hint of luxury in the sky.

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