[box]This is a guest post from Megan Marie Ritter, who is an entrepreneur and technology enthusiast in Southern California. As an online business journalist, her writing covers everything from start-ups and small business to how to reach a global market. Follow her on Twitter today to find more of her writing![/box]
Pack Your Bags
Traveling isn’t cheap anymore—the price of fuel has gone up, and with it: airline prices have also skyrocketed. Many businesses seek to expand into multiple states and countries, making it necessary for people to travel from the main office to satellite offices. Traveling for business has been beneficial for the economy, though—3.7 million jobs have been created, and $225 billion has been spent by American companies on travel, generating $35 billion in tax payments.
In A Land Far, Far Away
Three-fourths of business travelers don’t venture more than 250 miles away, which may mean hopping a state border. Seven percent go further than 1,000 miles, however, which means crossing an international border or an ocean. If a company has recently expanded to another country or is seeking a consultant or expert from the main office, they will often bring in someone from the main office to help with the challenges they are facing.
On average, a business trip takes around 3 nights, and the average business traveler makes five of these trips. That means 15 days of the year, a business traveler will be working remotely. As businesses start to grow more globally, that number could increase exponentially. This also means bringing your work with you on the go. Thankfully, technology has advanced so much that you can bring an office with you in a laptop bag or even your own pocket.
Office In A Box
Almost half of a company’s workforce is mobile, and that number is only looking to increase. Businesses are cutting costs wherever they can, and a mobile workforce allows employers to spend less on office space, which can cut quite a bit into a company’s budget if they’re located in cities where office rent is notoriously high.
Mobile devices allow people to set their office up anywhere—in fact, 84% of traveling business employees use a mobile device during travel. International flights require you to check in at least three hours before, giving you a window of opportunity to increase your productivity. If you have a stopover, connecting flights can mean you will spend anywhere from two hours to even an entire day in an airport, so you can get even more done that way.
The typical mobile business traveler tends to be in their late 40s and earns $58,000 a year, which means they are more likely to be part of middle management or even hold a senior position in the company. 46% of them still feel they are more productive in the office, while a small but growing amount of them feel they are more productive while in transit—about 7% of them, while 9% feel they can be productive anywhere.
Some apps that are essential to business travelers include Skype, Google Hangout, and Google Drive, all of which are free (at least at the basic level) and can keep you in touch with teams both at your origin and at your destination. You can video conference with your coworkers, send documents and files, and share them with both teams so you can keep the office atmosphere going no matter where you are.
This person tends to use iPhones the most (37%), while the top non-Apple device is an Android phone (14.8%). Laptops and notebooks are still widely used (14.1% total) as a lot of work still needs a full keyboard. Tablets are also a popular device to use (20.4% total). This is mostly commonly known information, but why are Apple devices the top devices for mobile travelers? They can message other Apple devices for free with an Internet connection, and almost all airports have WiFi coverage, therefore also reducing another cost—international roaming fees.
Mobile business travelers are using their devices to check things such as flight status, itineraries, hotel rooms and directions to their destination(s). As these events can change quickly, a mobile device is a great thing to have on hand. Many people book via smartphone, tablet or laptop, and on a desktop. Researching travel on a mobile device is becoming a growing trend, as these trips can often come up at the last minute and requires quick planning.
The Friendly Skies
You don’t need to be at a desktop PC to be at work. Accessing information and documents is easy on any mobile device. Plans can change at the last minute, so having these devices and the apps that you can get for them are essential for the mobile traveler. This allows for an office with no walls or cubicles, but truly, an open environment, both literally and figuratively, in which you can conduct business in and get results no matter where you are.