Magazine article New Zealand Management

Management in Motion: Graceful Globetrotting: What Does It Take to Manage Business Travel Successfully? as Business Becomes an Increasingly Global Occupation, Kathryn Owler Discovers How Four Seasoned Jet-Setters Manage Their Miles

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Management in Motion: Graceful Globetrotting: What Does It Take to Manage Business Travel Successfully? as Business Becomes an Increasingly Global Occupation, Kathryn Owler Discovers How Four Seasoned Jet-Setters Manage Their Miles

Article excerpt

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The nature of New Zealand business has changed significantly over the past 20 years with much of it now conducted in a global context. The need for overseas business travel has increased dramatically so that for some managers and other personnel, jet-setting is now a standard way of life.

It might sound exciting, but what does it really take to manage business travel successfully?

While it has traditionally been seen as a perk, the growing frequency of business travel presents new challenges. In the past five years, overseas business travel from New Zealand has increased by almost 25 percent. Some managers now even base themselves in several countries, managing regionally, within Asia-Pacific for instance. These changes have an impact not only on management and working style, but also on the way in which business travellers manage their personal lives including family, friendships and health.

In this article NZ Management speaks to four jet-setting individuals who travel for work. One thing we discover is that successful business travel depends, first and foremost, on how well one manages oneself.

Vaughan Scott, seasoned TVNZ cameraman and now director of Create Business, has changed his view on business travel over a career that has seen a lot of it.

"There is a glamour attached to it but when you've been doing it for a while, you don't see it as being glamorous--it's just what you do."

Scott has been travelling overseas for work for 40 years now and on the whole has enjoyed the experience. "I chose to pursue that aspect of work which would take me away," Scott explains. "I am very interested in world events."

For the past eight years Michelle Pissaro has travelled extensively in her role as business developer for a globally based software company. Pissaro explains that one of the best parts of the job is that you "get to travel to places that you may not necessarily he able to afford the time or the money to see".

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Hamish Guild is the executive general manager for technical services with Downer EDI for both New Zealand and Australia. He has commuted between the two countries in this role for two years and feels positive about the travel component of his work. "Travel for work makes things more interesting. It gives you a broader outlook. You learn a great deal because it opens up the business stage. You learn different approaches to business. Also, you build a wider network which is hugely useful."

While travelling to new places and meeting new people can be exciting, it comes with certain challenges. Pissaro explains for instance that travel for work can result in "a transient lifestyle". Business travel makes "it hard to set routines and make plans for your personal life", he says.

That's an aspect of business travel that Sunshine Yates, co-director of Waste Not Consulting, struggles with. She travels extensively for work, mostly within New Zealand and while she enjoys visiting different cities, she does find that "travel takes a huge toll on one's personal and health life". It is, she says, a case of "learning how to manage in the best possible way for your own sanity".

So how do individuals best manage business travel?

Advances in communication technology make keeping in touch with family and friends while away a lot easier than it once was. Says Scott: "It is great if your company is flexible with phone calls home. And texting is great now. You also have CHAT and SKYPE more recently. Times are changing, one is more able to communicate on a daily basis."

Regarding relationships, one key message coming through from Scott, Guild and Pissaro was that being successful as a business traveller and at home as a partner and parent, depends on the support of one's partner. In his four decades of travel, Scott has also been helping to raise six children. …

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