3 Tips for Combining Productive Work with Travel

Published on 03 Aug 2018 - Updated on 03 Jan 2020

From planning the trip and coordinating schedules to sharing all the files and documentation needed for travel. You may have thought of all the things your work team needs to travel across nine time zones, but are you set up for a productive work week?

Combining Work and Travel can be Quite the Experience.

The ExaVault team met up in Barcelona for a week of work and adventure. If file sharing can happen any time, anywhere, then so can work.

Here are three tips to have a productive work week in another country.  

1. Embrace the Time Zone

Once the jet lag wears off and you figure out how to navigate the city from your apartment to your workspace, the time difference can really set in. In our case, Barcelona was 9 hours ahead of our corporate office in California.

Use the time difference to your advantage.

Start by imagining what part of your workday it would be back home. How does this affect the order you need to do your tasks? Social media may get more or fewer impressions based on when you post. Customers may not like receiving emails after midnight their time. Website updates done in the middle of the day in Barcelona should have minimal impact on customers sleeping in California.

As we ended our workdays in Barcelona, people back in the U.S. were just getting up and starting theirs. The nine-hour difference really put into perspective what it means to work with and have clients all over the world. (For our Ukrainian coworkers, the time difference was only 1 hour.)

Black and white alarm clock - be on time to your coworking space.

Being open to making adjustments in your schedule is an essential aspect of modern business, especially business file sharing. With the growing number of businesses in over 100 countries who use ExaVault for FTP and critical file transfers, this trip gave us a look into our customers’ schedules.

Next, let’s go over some tips to make work happen when traveling.

2. Coworking Space

Booking a short-term office or coworking space ahead of time makes planning the work part of your business trip more manageable. Sheltair offers large coworking spaces available for rent in Barcelona. They provide instant booking of the space, no membership fees and multiple locations in the city. They even had a room available that was walking distance from the apartments where we were staying.

Spaces like Sheltair can provide a peaceful environment conducive to working while dealing with jet lag and other distractions a new city can offer. When booking a coworking space abroad, look for one that includes secure WiFi, whiteboards, and screens in case you need to present what you are working on with the group. A coffee maker and drinking water are additional perks that are nice to have in a workspace.

Don’t forget to take breaks and get a snack at the local market just around the corner! A mini-fridge in the coworking space might be just what your team needs to keep snacks and beverages cool so they can focus on work instead of hunger.

You’ve got the space and the time zone under control. Now, let’s go over a few smart tools that can keep communication flowing.

3. Technology

Keep on top of tasks no matter what time zone you are in with the proper tools. Smartphones are great for keeping in touch. The only drawback when traveling is paying for the service. There are a few tricks to keep the cost down.

  • Use free wifi whenever possible – restaurants, coworking spaces, hotels, shopping areas.
  • Talk to your service provider and adjust your plan to include international calling and data for the duration of your trip.
  • Purchase a sim card for the area you will be working in and swap out when you arrive.

The first option limits your ability to use your smartphone but avoids additional fees. Just make sure to turn off your roaming and push notifications, so you don’t accidentally use data.

Second, it may be worth it to pay more for a few weeks to keep your phone number and have everything else working as expected.

Local sim cards can be the perfect solution. You’ll be able to access things like maps to help you navigate the city no matter where you are. No worrying about when your next wifi fix will happen.

For teams working and sightseeing together, download the Slack app and set up a group chat area so you can keep in touch. Use the app to communicate about work and share pictures of the exciting new food you just tried. Slack lets you stay in contact without having to exchange all your new sim phone numbers.

Smartphone with apps for file sharing and more.

Once swapped out make sure to keep your original sim card in a safe place to put back in your phone when the trip is over.

What Happened in Barcelona

Well, we worked regular business hours (Barcelona time). This schedule changed our customer communication dynamic. With online tools and file sharing any time, any place, the work got done. Only one group dinner was missed by two associates who had to deal with a little late-night FTP maintenance. We made up for this with leftovers and a one hour delayed start for everyone the following workday.

We made it through the week with a lot of great new ideas for the future, a ton of steps logged on our devices, and the memory of many delicious and exotic meals. From Cava to Ceviche the food and drink in Barcelona was amazing.

A few team members have even tried recreating their favorite tapas at home.

Food on grill to make recipe from Barcelona travels.

It’s all about balancing travel and productivity. Now, plan your week of work-related memories in a faraway (or not so far away) time zone.

Need for secure file transfer you can use anywhere? Sign up for ExaVault!

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