Business travel is affordable and it’s been proved that face-to-face contact beats electronic communication in terms of networking, negotiation and teamwork. But while meeting clients and colleagues is good for networking, commuting to airports can take time and often means that work piles up, which many of us find disruptive and even stressful.
As a savvy business traveller you’ll already have an app like ba.com, which enables you to check in for your flight on your mobile device, for example, and your enterprise will be a member of On Business, which rewards you for business travel. But Sue Petrie, British Airways’ commercial manager for southern Africa, suggests these hacks to streamline your flying forays:
- Boomerang: We all know that sinking sensation when you go online after a long flight and a deluge of messages hits your inbox and threatens to rattle your carefully planned workload. Boomerang works with Gmail and enables you to temporarily clear your inbox so that you can stick to your to-do list. You can retrieve the messages later. Boomerang also enables you to schedule when your mails are sent. Let’s say you’re on an early flight and will be in the air when your team gets to work. You have a mail you need actioned and want to make sure they see it when they get to the office. You can set the precise time you’d like the mail sent for that to happen.
- Scannable: If you’re a business traveller, chances are that you need to keep a record of expenses, or perhaps you need to capture and mail electronic copies of hard-copy – a signed contract you need to get to your legal team, perhaps – and can’t get to a scanner without compromising on confidentiality. Take a picture of the document with your smart phone and Scannable automatically straightens and neatens the pages and corrects contrast and lighting. Another way to capture receipts and invoices is Do Button, which allows you to save the slip to a DropBox file. You can then send a link to your accounts department and leave them with no option but to reimburse you.
- Trello is a popular project-management tool that works across a variety of devices. It allows real-time updates on the progress of developing a project from concept to completion. There are quite a few tools like this available, but Trello’s colour-codes and use of cards and lists has the look-and-feel of jotted-down to-do list and that’s earned it more than 10m users. This may also be because it’s based on the Japanese supply-chain-management principle of Kanban, which Toyota developed as “just-in-time” supply-chain management with great success.
- Wi-fi Finder alerts you to nearby wi-fi hotspots, a boon if you’re trying to conserve your data and avoid being excessive charges for roaming and need to say, conduct a Skype call. There’s also a vast downloadable database of wi-fi spots, so you can find a destination’s wi-fi-rich zones before you arrive.
- AroundMe uses your mobile devices GPS to direct you to facilities like ATMs and banks, parking-garages, hospitals, and restaurants, bars and coffee-shops, along with contact details and reviews.
Most of the apps are free, or have a nominal charge, and are available on Android or Apple, says Sue.