Big or small, the work trip does on some level, provide the opportunity to spend time with your colleagues in a more casual environment, but, at the same time it is work related and you are a representative of your company. So, when embarking on a business excursion, a little planning and etiquette is required to ensure you have a job to go back to at the end of it!
These four fundamental elements are certainly something to consider when on a work trip to ensure you behave in an appropriate manner while ‘on the road’.
Punctuality: Even more so than usual, allow plenty of contingency time when going on a work trip. Aim to arrive at your initial destination (and all other subsequent destinations) at least 30 minutes early to make sure that even if you get held up for some reason, you’re still slightly ahead of schedule. This shows a positive general attitude - and no one likes waiting around for latecomers!
Preparation: No matter where you’re going, when work related, it’s very important to be prepared. Before going away on the trip, it’s a particularly good idea to make a definitive checklist of essential items - from your iPad to clean underpants, no stone should go unturned. If you don’t pack all the things you need and have to borrow stuff off colleagues the entire time, this will leave a bad impression. Another handy tip when flying (other than remembering your passport) is to pack the most essential items in your hand luggage just in case your main bag goes missing in transit.
Preservation: What I really mean is self-preservation, and what I mainly mean by that is watching your alcohol consumption. Of course, there is usually a large social aspect to any work trip and it’s always a great chance to let your hair down a bit, but, it always pays to eat a big meal and drink responsibly in these situations. For example, you don’t want your boss telling everyone in the office that you were parading around a Tapas bar in Dundee naked from the waist down - not only could this tarnish your reputation, it could seriously damage your future career prospects!
Pronunciation: Even though you may be out of the office and on the large part, out of prying eyes, it is imperative to watch your language when on a work outing. Lots of swearing and crass phrasing is particularly offensive to some people and it isn’t professional when it comes to anything work related. In the same light, overuse of regional slang often alienates people and can be detrimental to your colleague bonding experience when out and about. Definitely don’t speak like some sort of office drone, but try not to offend either!
So there you have it, the four P’s which combined, really boil down to a fifth P – Professionalism.
In conclusion, whether it’s a business conference or a team bonding day in the big city, have fun, enjoy the company of your colleagues but always remember it is a work trip and is, therefore, work related - save the real banter, expletives, vulgarity and possible debauchery for your own time.