Advances in technology and the rise of remote working have made it easy to hold an online web meeting with Blue Jeans or similar software even when you are going to different countries for office-related tasks or are taking a much overdue vacation. You can even phone somebody abroad free of charge with this software. An article published on Yale’s website predicts that these advances in technology will make business travel more and more redundant, which has already been seen. Even so, we can’t always avoid having to commute or drive to work as well as make a conference call while on vacation. Video conferencing while on the go, however, is different than doing it at your home office and it is easy to make a mistake. Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you have to get in touch with someone while you’re out of your home country so that you can still make a good impression:
- Be Prepared
It is obvious that you want to pack everything you need before you set out, but think ahead to ensure you don’t leave anything out of your suitcase. Are there any paper documents you may need that aren’t available in cloud storage? Do you have the right wall socket adaptors for the country you’re visiting? Does your hotel provide an internet connection, and if not, do you know how you will get online? Many cities still don’t have reliable and free internet access. You don’t need to over pack and exceed your baggage allowance or obsess over everything and stress yourself out but it is still important to be prepared for any possibilities that may come up. Even if you have important documents in cloud storage, it is still wise to keep paper copies as a backup in case you can’t access them. Using the old Girl Scout motto of ‘be prepared’ will ensure that you are never left behind.
- Don’t Make Calls on Transportation
Whether or not your mode of transport has an internet connection, save the conversations for when you arrive. The occasional quick chat with a colleague is fine as long as you warn them that you might lose the connection, but conducting an important or lengthy discussion on a plane, train, or even while driving should be avoided. Your internet connection will be unreliable, there will be too much background noise, you will disturb other passengers, and in the worst cases it could be dangerous and cause an accident. Make it clear to clients and colleagues when you are out of the office and let them know that you will catch up with them when you have arrived.
- Find an Ideal Location
Once you have found a place to make your call, perhaps your hotel room or a café with a free connection, take a few minutes to settle down into a comfortable spot. If the only place to sit is your bed or an overstuffed sofa then you won’t make the most professional impression. Much like your home office, try to find a flat surface facing away from light sources with a proper chair that promotes good posture. Ensure that your face lines up with your webcam rather than making you look up or down into it. All of this will help you make the best, most professional impression even outside of your home office.
- Don’t Neglect Your Free Time
If you are taking work with you while on vacation, it is tempting to let it overwhelm your vacation hours to overcome the guilt of not getting enough done. Remember that everybody has to unwind in order to clear their heads and do a good job so don’t feel like you have to pile work on yourself or talk to tons of people every day to catch up with colleagues. Even if you are still on the go for business reasons, don’t waste the opportunity to go sightseeing and enjoy the city you are visiting. If you can, arrive a day before you are needed as this will not only give you more hours to recover from the journey but also time to see the sights and absorb the local culture as well. US News recommends prioritizing important tasks and delegating less important ones, which is a good way to manage the balance between your work and vacation schedule. Video conferencing is an ideal tool for doing this. This way, you also won’t have a huge stack of work waiting for you when you return home.
Video conferencing is transforming both work travel and personal vacations. By being prepared and having backup communication methods available, you can ensure that you can still conduct online meetings with professionalism from wherever in the world you end up in. Don’t forget to also take some time for yourself while you’re moving from one location to another so that you can return to work feeling refreshed and inspired.