Attending a work conference offers up a mix of exhilaration and added stress. The fun of meeting new people, visiting different places and learning, competes with the strain of jamming in an extra week’s worth of work before or after the event and being away from the comforts of home. As the Beauceron pack prepares for our next adventure, I thought I'd share a few of my business travel tips.
1) Attack the pack
I’m a carry-on gal through and through. My suitcase is like the Genie’s lamp from Disney’s Aladdin. Infinite cosmic power, itty bitty living space! This means my gratitude journal, 3 days’ worth of strategically folded business attire and many 100 ml bottles of liquid must fit into that tiny overhead cabin. It’s doable and totally worth the effort. Don’t know where to start? There’s a ton of info online; check out this packing checklist for business trips.
2) What’s in it for me (WIIFM)
After spending a few years travelling for work, I’ve learned that if I’m going to represent my company with intention and energy, mama needs a little something for me! So, I scope out the area in advance, look for free local attractions, a yoga studio or a place to feed my sugar cravings. Any of these activities must be within walking distance from my Airbnb and not something I need to commit to in advance. That way when an hour of me time becomes available, I’m ready to strike!
3) Pre-departure checklist
Whether I’m an attendee hoping to learn or an exhibitor ready to build relationships, success for me is rolling with the punches when on the road. A detailed pre-departure checklist, including the schedule of events, parking instructions and on-location tasks is a gift for future me. When I’m sweating through a 16-hour day of interacting with humans, far away from my gym, spinach salads and dog, I am forever grateful to the version of me who planned for this inevitable situation.
4) An awesome attitude
A good night’s sleep, home cooked meals and regular exercise help me bring my whole self to work. This is not the reality when I'm travelling for business. Finding ways to prioritize my mental health during a conference positions me to perform when the heat is on. Drinking lots of water, stealing a few moments of solitude and a healthy supply of lavender oil are some of my go to strategies. If you’re hungry for other ideas, check out this link on self-care for business travellers.
5) Canine comfort
My eight-year-old black lab, Stella is not only the cutest dog around, she’s also my office buddy as I’m a remote employee. After a long day, Stell is there for me, with unconditional love and a reliable need for a walk outside. As much as I enjoy a change of scenery that business travel offers, leaving her sucks.
The good news is, dogs are everywhere! Whether it’s a morning run through a park or asking every pet owner that passes me on the street if I can pet their dog, I get by.
Luckily, I also work for Beauceron Security, a cybersecurity company named after a type of sheep dog, with a raison d’être that circles around reducing business risk (and therefore business stress).
So, whenever possible, we partner with event organizers to sponsor a Canine Comfort Zone and bring therapy dog teams to our venue!
This is my favourite part of the job. When I’m away from home and "on” 24/7, a few minutes of interaction with a dog makes me feel human again!
The Beauceron team will be in Niagara Falls this week, and yes, we’ve partnered with our event organizers to sponsor the St. John’s Ambulance, Therapy Dog Program.
As a reward for my efforts in getting our team to this event, and showing up as my best self, I plan to spend as much time as I can in the Canine Comfort Zone, petting all the dogs.
If mindfulness, detailed lists and dogs aren’t your thing, I’d love to know what you’re doing to keep calm and conference on.
Author: Kassi Clifford, Director of Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org