Vincy Workplace
November 8, 2013
Is that business trip really necessary?

When I worked in sales many years ago, business trips were a requirement of the job. We visited clients and vendors, did evaluations, and for each trip we were required to do a report.When I moved to another job, business trips seemed more like luxury vacations and it was fun. My supervisor authorized the spending of the company’s money on nice dinners; many people even went so far as to skip the conference workshops that we were supposed to attend, so they could sightsee.{{more}} Now, as a business owner, I am very aware that some business trips can yield growth opportunities for my company and others are nothing more than a waste of resources (time and money).

Which brings me to this week’s questions: Are the trips authorized in your office really necessary? Can you measure the return on your investment, or are you just helping staff see the world on the company’s money?

Before you authorize yet another business trip, consider the following:

Do a conference call. Conference calls are not like they used to be. The cost of the call, even though it might be an international call, will be far less than the airfare and hotel rates if you were to send your staff.

Skype meeting or webinar. It’s not uncommon for companies to host entire conferences online, complete with a virtual lobby where you can meet other attendees. The same valuable content is delivered, your staff can still network, and you will save money on all the social activities that would occur on an actual trip. In addition, sessions are usually recorded to accommodate review of the topic.

Written communication. Sometimes a simple business letter or a few email exchanges can minimize the need to meet. Google even makes it easy, where multiple people can edit the same document, project, etc.

Require a report/ implementation plan. If a trip is needed, then make sure to hold your employees accountable for the information learned. How will they apply what they learned? What outcomes are expected?

Ask for an itemized expense report. As a last item, put limits on what an employee spends. On a recent business trip to Washington, D.C., I watched a lady pay almost $25 for a taxi to the airport, when the hotel provided a free, comfortable, spacious shuttle. Her taxi left a few minutes before the free shuttle, but the shuttle still got to the airport before her taxi. She had lots of time before her scheduled departure, and that was a blatant waste of money.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected]

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