One of the major problem concerns of modern day business people is time management. Because of the fast pace of today’s work climate the average businessman spends hours upon hours of time commuting, driving or in airports. The purpose of this article is to explore possibilities for traveling less and saving time. This article will address both how to save time while commuting and how to save time traveling through airports.
The first possibility is to work from a home office and commute virtually. With modern communication technology this is a possibility that is well worth exploring. The advent of computers and the internet allows for all sorts of exciting possibilities for saving time. Indeed, many companies are finding that employees are highly productive when the stress of the daily commute is reduced or totally eliminated. If a person is commuting in traffic forty five minutes twice a day for 5 days per week that is 7.5 hours weekly. Working just 2 days out of a home office would save that person 3 hours per week. This time could be used for family, recreation or household tasks. If the same worker spends 3 days working out of their home office the extra time accumulated is 4.5 hours.
Another time saving measure would be to establish virtual meetings from the office. Meeting rooms can be established using popular programs like Go to Meeting and Adobe Connect. These meeting rooms allow those in the session to communicate via chat or by webcam. This would save the business person the hassle of driving across town to meet at a remote location. Setting up a computer for virtual meetings in the office conference room would even allow people to meet with individuals or groups globally. It also has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on flights, meals and hotel rooms. If the travel is for training perhaps the company could broadcast webinars that could benefit all employees in the office instead of sending just one or two people.
Another great idea is for companies to provide some basic services on their campus for their employees. An on site daycare would shorten the commute for workers with families. A cafeteria with food from outside vendors would also allow for eating lunches on site rather than rushing out to a restaurant. Providing healthy food rather than the standard fast food would also keep workers healthy.
Another concept for saving time might be to use public transportation, if available, rather than driving. Riding the train or bus instead of driving in to the office could free up to an hour each way during the commute which can be used for other things. That hour would have the potential to be used as valuable planning for the day. With powerful tools like the smart phone and the iPad this could be one of the most productive parts of the morning.
Proper planning can also shorten time spent on the road. Arranging stops on the way to and from work can eliminate much stress. Using a dry cleaning business for those ironed shirts on the way to work might prove to be more useful than a neighborhood business whose doors are closed by the time you drive through in the afternoon.
On the drive to work perhaps the shortest distance is not the shortest drive. Many times major arteries are busier than the roads less travelled and although the distance may be further the commute is shorter because there is less traffic. Also, pay attention to drive times. If you can arrange to leave home 15 minutes before rush hour starts there could be significantly less traffic than normal. Shifting your schedule around traffic patterns could benefit because not only would you get to work earlier, you would also eliminate the stress of driving on busy roads.
Any business traveler who frequents airports is also aware of the time spent in airports. Try to arrange direct flights or flights with little or no layover time. Three hours spent waiting in the airport for the next plane is three hours of wasted time. Find out which airports will work best for you. If there is a small regional airport that is in the city of destination then by all means avoid the international airport 70 miles away. You will arrive without having to spend another hour on the road.
It also helps if you are prepared when you arrive at the airport. Print your tickets in advance and check in at the machines. Have all documentation ready when you arrive at security.
Also for the frequent flyers, don’t carry any items along that will set off airport security. Make sure all shampoo bottles are regulation size. Make sure your shoes, jewelry and other items will clear the scanners. Try to arrive early enough to clear airport security before long lines.
Time spent in airports also increases significantly if you check your bags. Waiting around at the luggage pick up can take 30-40 minutes and if you miss your bag the first time around you will have to wait for it to come around again. Try to travel as light as possible and fit as much as you can in your carryon bag. You can always purchase toiletries when you arrive.
Decreasing travel time can increase employee productivity. Companies should take all measures possible to scale back and include virtual meetings including international meetings and training. Fortunately in a day and time when more productivity is expected technology is catching up. Mobile devices allow for work during a commute and proper scheduling and planning one’s route can certainly shorten the commute time. Businesses becoming accepting of working at home a few days per week have also added time saving measures to our busy days.
It will be interesting to watch how the changes in technology enhance the way we work over the next few decades. Will the elimination of commuting and travel promote happier more productive workers or will we simply work harder with the time saved from the daily commute and business travel.