Work-Life Balance

When it comes to making career choices, people tend to always say the following: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. The famous words of Mark Twain may be true, however, this mentality can cause an unhealthy work-life balance.

Work-life balance is the ability to enjoy the four aspects of a person’s life: Family, career, health and friends. And in the current digital age, everything is very fast-paced and employees tend to overwork themselves trying to keep up with the new environment leaving no time for the other three aspects. To avoid burnouts and exhaustion you need to reflect on your working habits and in order to do so, you need to set boundaries.

By prioritising and separating work-related activities from your personal home environment, a so-called work-life balance is created. It is important that the moment your working hours end, you are leaving all of your professional worries and responsibilities at your workplace. Some European countries have already undertaken several legal measures to control excessive working hours. For example, French law permits all employees to ignore their email after work hours and the European Union enforced a maximum 48-hour work week.

In the business field, business travellers face the most difficulties in maintaining a healthy balance since they are away from home for a long time. Being constantly on the road can be stressful since they have less quality time with their families and are surrounded by unfamiliar places and people. Also, in order to kill time during the commute, the travellers are tempted to catch up on their emails. To take matters into your own hands, we have gathered some tips to help you create a healthy work-life balance!

  1. Talk about it

When you notice that you are stressed out because of work and feel powerless, talk about it with people around you. It is not good to bottle up feelings since at some point they will explode. Engage with your colleagues, HR department and ask for advice on how to solve this issue.

  1. Start exercising

A great way to relieve stress is to do some type of physical activity. One of the effective ways would be to join a sport’s team because in this setting you are surrounded by other people and commitment to the game will distract you from your worries. Furthermore, doing physical activity will help you to reset your stressful state. For instance, upbeat exercises which make you sweat and raise your heartbeat will increase your mood, energy and make your mind feel more refreshed. Rhythmic exercises like walking and running will calm down your nerves. Whenever you feel like work is overwhelming you, during your lunch break take a stroll around the block.

  1. Plan

Plan your week ahead and include a window for the things you love doing the most. Having a clear overview of your task can help you think more clearly, however, your goals need to be realistic. When travelling on a business trip, try to schedule a few days either before or after the trip to do some sightseeing. This will be a great escape! A bonus tip, take your family with you on the trip.

  1. Unplug

The moment you leave the office, mentally leave all of your professional responsibilities there. Mute your work email and focus on spending quality time with your loved ones. A tip, never give your personal WhatsApp number as your work number. In this case, you will be getting unofficial work-related phone calls at unexpected moments.

Reflect on your current situation and include these tips to feel more refreshed!

 

By Polina Zavyalova

 

Sources:

Work-life balance, OECD

Deborah Lee, Forbes

Stress in the workplace, Helpguide

Work-life balance around the world

 

 


Make a Big Impact with a Small Commitment

As a global nomad or a business traveller that is always on the road, it is difficult to find time to maintain a healthy work-life balance and simultaneously give back to the community. Most of the charity projects require quite long-time commitment since the usual duration of projects can vary from 2 and up to 4 weeks of consistent dedication. To avoid the registration hassle and high sign-up fees, consider opportunities for an amazing concept: micro-volunteering.

Micro-volunteering offers opportunities that are cost-free and have little to no commitment. It allows volunteers to contribute to various causes on the spot and there are no commitment boundaries.

The demand for flexible short-term volunteering opportunities is on the rise because more and more people are leading a busy, unpredictable and global-nomadic lifestyle. During your work travels, micro-volunteering would be a great opportunity to explore the neighbourhood, community and culture. It offers great flexibility and a chance to explore various volunteer projects to discover what you like best. A great way to get involved would be volunteering at a local homeless shelter, food bank or any other local community centres. In the Netherlands, there is a platform NL Voor Elkaar which provides various volunteering options that are possible for one time only volunteering experience. The concept of micro-volunteering is known world-wide and there are other platforms that promote various causes such as Speed Volunteer in London or Cause Corps with various short-term volunteering openings all around the world.

What makes this concept even more special, is the fact that it is also possible to help the world online. For instance, an online volunteering act would be online sponsorship, crowdfunding, providing feedback, filling in a survey and much more. It requires minimum effort, however every small contribution matters.

No matter the setting, everyone should explore volunteering opportunities that the world is offering. Remember, each contribution counts and it will definitely make a difference!

Are you planning your next business or leisure trip? Contact Short Stay Citizens and reserve your next accommodation with us! Need additional information about any accommodation location? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help you!

 

By Polina Zavyalova

Sources :

Charlotte Jones, The Guardian

Anna Patton, Mission Box

 


Cultural Differences while Travelling

In the beginning, travelling abroad and leaving a familiar place behind seems to be scary, but then the excitement of unknown kicks in. This new sense of energy gives you the illusion that you are invincible. However, do not let this feeling cloud your judgement! What may seem normal to you, can be completely out of the ordinary to others- especially to people from different cultural backgrounds. Here are some tips on how to be respectful while travelling.

Hand gestures 

We’ve all been there, making weird signs and miming short sentences as if we are playing charades. Hand gestures always come in handy when you are visiting a new country or a city where a language barrier is present. This non-verbal communication might not be so precise, but it will still get your message across. Only, it is important to note that most cultures embrace different meanings and symbolism to gestures. An innocent gesture like scratching your chin can deeply offend an Italian. Another misinterpretation would be the ‘V’ sign that is expressed by most countries with a palm faced either outwards or inwards which indicates peace or victory. Conversely, if the palm is faced inwards it could be offensive to an Australian and a Brit since this gesture is equivalent to a middle finger. In Brazil, tapping under your jaw means: ‘It’s not true, just gossip’, whereas an Eastern European would interpret this gesture as: ‘Let’s get a drink’. Therefore, before visiting a new country, study the culture briefly and remember the basic facts with useful tips.

Personal space

How close is too close or too far to be considered rude? The concept of personal space is dependent on the country and the relationship you have with the person. Based on a conducted study by the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, residents of Argentina, Peru and Bulgaria stand the closest to strangers. On the other hand, Romania, Hungary and Saudi Arabia keep the most distance to keep their ‘personal bubble’ intact. Nevertheless, this all changes based on a type of relationship you have with a resident of the country. The closer the relationship, the smaller the personal bubble. So before you get tensed up about the amount of space between you and the other person, think of their cultural background and the type of relationship you have with them.

Tips to keep in mind

  1. Gum-free Since the 1990s, Singapore is a gum-free zone, unless it is used for medical reasons. It is permitted to bring two packs per person, violation of this regulation can result in a one-year prison sentence and a $5,500 fine.
  2. Eating with a cap. In Southern Europe, it is considered rude to eat with a cap/hat on indoors.
  3. Toilet regulations. Toilets come in different forms around the world. In Western cultures it is normal to sit on the toilet seat, however, in several countries such as in Japan and the Middle East, it is a norm to squat on the toilet seat. Moreover, in countries like in Africa, South America and Asia it is not common to flush toilet paper down the toilet.
  4. Drinking. In an Eastern European household, your drink (especially alcoholic beverages) would be automatically refilled by the host. It is considered rude to leave your guest with an empty glass.
  5. Tipping. Each country has its own regulation regarding tipping, usually, 10% is expected when it comes to restaurant service. However, some restaurants automatically include a fee to the bill. In Italy, this is indicated by coperto or servizio.
  6. Saying hello. For some countries just saying the word hello, is not enough for a greeting. The French and Italians follow up a greeting with two kisses on the cheek, whereas the Dutch do it with three. Other forms of saying hello around the world would be bowing, sticking your tongue out, handshake etc.
  7. Punctuality. Germans are not the only ones that value punctuality. Some cultures consider tardiness a sign of disrespect. However, in some countries like China, arriving within 10 to 15 minutes before the agreed time is considered acceptable. Whereas, in most of Latin, African and Middle Eastern countries, showing up late is considered to be normal and quite common.

Final tip

While travelling, be open-minded, try to learn a thing or two and embrace every culture. Nowadays, the world is extremely integrated and therefore there should not be any culture that is superior to others. Remember these tips, especially when going abroad for business purposes… You do not want to mess up your negotiations.

 

By Polina Zavyalova

Sources:

Herrine Ro, Business Insider

Rebecca Winke, CiuItaly

Carla, Opodo

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa, SocialMettle

 

 

 


Why Expensive Luggage Is Worth Buying

When you frequently travel for a living, the last thing you want is to stress about your luggage, as travelling can be quite stressful on its own. By investing in quality luggage, you avoid the risk of it breaking down during the worst possible time and it also facilitates you during check-up points. Allowing you to have a stress-free and pleasant journey.

Here is why you should always invest more in high-quality luggage to help you be organised and give you peace of mind during your (business) travels.

There is no substitute for Quality 

Samsonite Omni PC Spinner

High-quality luggage has an extremely light and tough luggage design with a lot of benefits to offer. One of the major benefits is the protection and security of your belongings. High-quality luggage will provide better resistance as they are equipped to endure the inevitable impact of travel and luggage handling during your many trips. Whereas, traditional luggage is not properly equipped and almost always bring issues along with it, which you usually find out after a couple of trips. The new generation of luggage is stronger, lighter and thinner than ever before. This is because they are made with stronger materials such as Tegris. This is because they are made with a new stronger material called Tegris. This is a thermoplastic material used in race cars and NFL helmets since it is very light and impact resistant. Their strength makes them more secure and durable. On top of that, the usage of thinner materials allows these new generation suitcases to maximize the inner space of the suitcase.

The protection and security a high-quality suitcase has to offer are priceless. They allow you to have peace of mind during your journey and you can rest assured that your fragile items such as a laptop or iPad are going to arrive intact. Allowing you to proceed to your meetings or presentations without any unpleasant surprises.

The ease of moving through Airports and Train stations

Another major benefit that high-quality luggage will provide you with, is the ease of travelling. It will make your journey easier and much smoother rather than taking up all your energy from dragging traditional luggage around. You want luggage that is easy to manoeuvre instead of luggage that will give you trouble going through narrow passageways. You want to avoid spending too much energy manoeuvring your luggage through complex passageways, especially through airports and trains stations. High-quality luggage, in contrast, is designed in such a way that allows you to move seamlessly through airports and train stations.

Time-saving and fewer risks

One key element that you must consider when choosing your next luggage is its size. Cabin size luggage designs are highly practical for travelling by train but especially by plane. Because you don’t have to check it in, you spend less time waiting and more time moving. This is convenient if you are running late. Furthermore, you avoid waiting if there are any delays with the luggage. Another advantage of not checking your luggage in is that your luggage won’t get lost by the airline. Which let’s face it, it’s the worst.

Special Compartments 

Samsonite Pro 4 DLX Vertical Spinner Mobile Office

High-quality luggage offers you divided compartments to facilitate a good organisation and storage for your clothes, toiletries and your tech supplies in one bag. Such divided compartments include zippered dividers, packing cubes, pockets or other types divider.

Best Carry-on Luggage for Business Travelling

We have taken the time to look up the best carry-on luggage out there for you. Here is a top-five list of the best carry-on luggage for business travelling according to Aslam S. from Omnicore Agency. The list is compiled in view of crucial factors such as comfort, durability, safety, and value.

  • Samsonite Omni PC Hardside
  • Victorinox Luggage Avolve 2 22
  • Merax Travel house Luggage 3-Piece Expandable Spinner Set
  • Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside 21’’Spinner
  • Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 3 22’’ Expandable Rollaboard

 

In short, as someone who travels a lot for a living you want to make your travels are as efficient and pleasant as possible. Having a high-quality suitcase or carry-on can help in achieving this. It secures your belongings, has perfect compartments and doesn’t compromise the inside space.  Furthermore, high-quality luggage is designed to allow you to travel smooth and effortlessly through airports and trains stations.

 

By Anthony Rasmijn

 

Source

Aslam, S. (2019) – Omnicore Agency

Green, D. (2016). -Business Insider 

 


How to choose a good restaurant when you're travelling

As a global traveller, you are continuous going to new places, learning new languages and cultures. It is part of the travelling journey. What is more exciting is that you get to enjoy the local cuisine! Therefore, it is always important to do some internet research or make use of apps that help you choose your choice of the day. This will minimise your chances of ending up in a regrettable situation.

Ask a local 

Whether you’re travelling for business, pleasure, or both..travelling is a journey. You start your morning with the usual, breakfast and coffee. Later, you don’t know where to eat and the hotel buffet just doesn’t look appetising enough. What do you do? You ask a local! Ask your concierge at the aparthotel you’re staying at, ask the serviced apartment host, ask the cab driver..ask, anyone! Ask where to go to experience the local cuisine or where the best restaurants are. Engage with the locals to have a better experience!

Before you go ahead and decide what to eat later in the evening, check websites or apps like Tripadvisor, Yelp and Foursquare. These websites have many selections of cuisine choice and many reviews. This will help you save time and unpleasant experiences.

 

Zomato app

Plan ahead 

An extra tip is to use restaurant apps. Top 3 restaurants application that you need to download and is free are Open table, Tastefull and Zomato. These apps have many hidden and very useful perks. You can search for your restaurant and the menu is available for your selection of taste. The apps work in all major tourist destinations.

 

 

Ben Thanh

Street Food Market 

Always ask locals if they have a street food market where you’re staying at. You’ll be surprised to see what they have in store for you! From local fresh fruits to freshly baked bread, spices and herbs, and stalls that cook the food right in front of you! You pay less and you can taste so many different cuisines. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

 

PS. Tips for tips

Okay, you found an amazing restaurant and the bill comes..now what? Back at home, you know everything. You know the restaurant, the people, where to go and what to tip. It is different when you go abroad. Not all around the world uses the “tipping” system. For example, in some countries, the tip is known as a service charge and is already added to the bill. And in other countries, it’s not added automatically, some require you to leave between 10% to 15% of the bill. If you don’t know, search online, or just ask the waiter, politely, how it works here.

 

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

 Travelling to new places becomes a new journey and a new life experience for you. It can be the food, the language, the religion and the people you meet along the way. You can enjoy the best coffee prepared by the lovely barista, a delightful wine tasting course or an amazing dinner served by the polite waitress. All these experiences become your memories. Do a little online research, engage with the locals and enjoy the journey.

 

By: Corina Ng Wu

 

Reference:

(Travel Stack Exchange, 2018)

(Durack, 2015)


5 tips to reduce jet lag

Being a global nomad allows you to travel the world. You’re constantly on the move. Switching from one place to another and switching from one time-zone to another. It can be really exhausting to adapt our biological clocks of our bodies every time we’re on the move. Especially after long hours of flight, we become restless, and it’s more difficult to fall asleep. We all know the inconveniences of jet lag. We’ve gathered 5 tips to make your life a little easier and jet lag a little more bearable.

Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is stimulant that can give you an energy boost to go through the day. This substance is highly addictive and can be found in coffee, tea and energy drinks. As a business traveller, you’re always on the go, attending different meetings and you are more prone to be exposed to beverages containing caffeine. Sebastian Beaton from Barista Del Caffe explains in his article, “The Health Benefits of Coffee: Is coffee good or bad for you?”, that caffeine works by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is responsible for inducing sleep. Too much caffeine can cause sleeplessness, especially if taken later in the day. The caffeine effects can take up to 6 hours to wear off. That’s why it is advised to not consume caffeine 6 hours before going to sleepThe Mayo Clinic states that 400 mg of caffeine a day should be enough for healthy adults. That is roughly 4 cups of coffee,10 cans of cola or 2 energy shot drinks.

Avoid alcohol
One of the most common mistakes we make while travelling is drinking alcohol to relax during the long hours of flight. A survey revealed that 42% of Singaporeans avoid alcohol completely to try to adapt to a new time zone. Drinking also causes dehydration to the body and if we drink too much it may also lead to a hangover. The combination of a hangover with jet lag can be extremely bad especially when you need to be fully functional for meetings the next day. So, avoiding alcohol is the best option to prevent dehydration and hangover on top of jet lag.

Be active
Doing some light bodyweight exercise can help to stretch our muscles to reduce cramp and relaxes your body. The most recommended exercise for better sleep is yoga, where you can practice prior to bedtime or in the morning. Yoga doesn’t require any equipment -just a yoga mat- and you can easily find a video for a yoga tutorial online. The same survey mentioned previously also revealed that 45% of Singaporeans do exercise or take in fresh air before a flight to try to avoid jet lag.

 

Sleep better
Waking up in a different time zone can be really challenging if you didn’t sleep properly. Adjust your sleep schedule to shift your bedtime or awakening time to help your body’s internal clock move closer to your destination’s time zone. Do this ahead of time, at least 3 to 5 days before your trip. If you arrive in the daylight, expose your self to natural sunlight for 15-30 minutes right after you wake up. This helps our body to feel more awake. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, this will slow down the adaptation of the biological clock. If you really need to take a nap, don’t nap more than 20 minutes. If you arrive in the nighttime, set the stage for a good night’s sleep: dm your lights, eat lightly and do an activity that relaxes you.

Stay hydrated
Spending long hours on a flight can cause serious dehydration, the oxygen and humidity are way lower in the cabin. For example, men can lose up to 2 litres of water on a 10-hour flight and women can lose up to 1.6 litres of water. Our body consists of 70% of water, we need to consume plenty of liquid to stay hydrated. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to drink a glass of water every hour to prevent dehydration. When someone is dehydrated it has a significant impact on the overall health and mood. Which consequently reduces the cognitive functions of the brain and increase tiredness and fatigue.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate jet lag, but this can be reduced following these simple tips. Don’t forget these useful tips for your next trip: Limit caffeine intake, avoid alcohol, be active, sleep better and stay hydrated!

By Yan Yue

 


Relocating with family

Are you one of those people that need to relocate because of Brexit? Or have you simply gotten an opportunity to work abroad or elsewhere? How exciting! But now the headache starts. It’s one thing to relocate on your own, but it’s another thing to relocate with your family. Here are some FREE tips that you need to make your relocation smoother.


1. Break it down gently to your kids about the relocation
You and your partner have known for a while about the relocation, it is time to share the news with your children. Relocating to another city or country might not be perceived as a positive opportunity, especially by children in the age between 10 up to 15 who have their friends and roots in their hometown. On the other hand, this adventure could sound exciting for them – going to a new place and exploring a new environment. It is important to let your children know it is not a holiday because this time they will not come back after a few weeks. Try to put a positive spin on this new adventure and explain the benefits they will gain with this relocation.

Your kids will learn way more about a new culture and language and make (more) new friends. Remind them that they will be still able to contact their friends via Skype, Facetime, email via a phone call or other social networking sites. Show the kids the location where they will be living on Google Maps, or any other location map, and try to create the feeling that the family is going on an adventure together. Lastly, involve your kids in all the stages of moving away, especially if they’re grown enough. They’ll appreciate it.

2. Resolve important issues before leaving
So, the bomb has dropped and now it is time to solve issues that are still left. Are you and your partner on the same page about the relocation? What can you do both to make it comfortable for all to relocate? Does your partner have to give up his or her job? A suggestion for your working partner is that he or she tries to arrange an agreement with the employer to work remotely.
What about the kids who are halfway through their school year? Will I take them out during the school year, or should they relocate once school is over? Also, searching for information about different (international) schools with similarities in your kids’ current school curriculum will prevent your kids from falling behind in their studies.

3. Checklist for the move

Now that the kids are up to speed and important issues are resolved, it’s time to get things rolling by making a checklist! Ask yourself what are the things that need to be resolved for the move itself? Which organisations need to have your new address? What do I need to move? Speed up your packing and save time by setting up different boxes with each their own purpose: throw away, give to charity, sell, or to keep will help. Furthermore, is the accommodation already provided? Or do I need to get a temporary serviced apartment? See if your new employer could pay your stay in a curated and professional serviced apartment, for the time being – a nice thing of this all it is fully furnished with the needed amenities! Once you have THE family house, make everything revolving around the colour of the wall up to the furniture, a family affair! To make all of you feel home in the new house, having key items from your previous home will help to adjust to this new place.

4. Cross-cultural awareness
Don’t end up standing in a windstorm! Coming from sunny California for example and moving to Sweden could be a big shock for all of us. So be aware, online information will only get you that far. Try to connect with locals or expats in that neighbourhood through forums or Facebook groups before leaving. This could help you to settle in faster and help you get acquainted with locals and the surroundings. Also, if you’re moving to a country with another language, get a book or an app to learn the basics of the language. It’s a fun exercise for you and your family!

5. Plan your goodbyes

Don’t you just hate goodbyes? Especially doing it repeatedly? Here’s an idea! Throw a house cooling party! Invite all your friends and family and say your goodbyes all at once! Also, house cooling parties are an excellent way of getting rid of some stuff that you don’t want to take to your new place. For the kids, arranging other activities with their own friends is a positive idea and on top of that, buy a notebook for the younger kids so they have a place with all the contact information and pictures of their friends. For the older ones, they can still easily connect with their friends through social media and different chat apps.

 

 

 

Last but not least, as a wise person once said:

 

By Santa Alcantara


References

https://www.fidi.org/blog/parents%E2%80%99-guide-moving-abroad-kids

https://www.fidi.org/blog/global-assignments-and-expat-children-advice-parents

https://www.fidi.org/blog/preparing-kids-relocation

https://www.fidi.org/blog/6-tips-expat-office-cultures

https://www.fidi.org/blog/cross-cultural-awareness

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/teen-angst/201512/moving-the-family

https://www.nesgt.com/blog/2017/05/how-to-deal-with-relocating-your-family

http://premierevanlines.com/blog/5-tips-family-relocation

https://squarecowmovers.com/moving-and-packing-101/7-things-to-consider-before-relocating-your-family/

https://www.grace.com.au/relocating-family-work/

https://www.furnishandfinish.com/tips-relocating-family/

https://traveltips.usatoday.com/useful-tips-family-moving-relocating-25892.html

https://www.allied.com/moving-resources/moving-preparation/family-relocation-timeline

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/06/21/is-relocating-for-a-job-the-right-decision-for-you/#21b4a3136e7f

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/job.4030110507


Planning a perfect workcation

 

Deciding to go on a work holiday, in other words, working from another location than the office can be difficult when you have other parties involved such as colleagues or clients. At this point, they are required to be considerate with your schedule and the other way around. However, where there is a will, there is a way! If you plan your schedule correctly, you can still enjoy a holiday, meet your deadlines and work “closely” with your colleagues, thanks to this little thing called the internet. Have a read and take some notes before you start with your workcation!


Workcation permission

As the topdog, you won’t need permission to go on a workcation. As an employee, your supervisor needs to agree with your request. How to get your manager to agree with this, you ask? Keep reading, employees and even topdogs need a little advice. Is the Wi-Fi connection good at the place you’re staying? If not, this could become a deal breaker as you won’t be that reachable for your colleagues for prompt work-related requests. Call and see if the place you are interested in has a stable and fast Wi-Fi connection. Or better yet, check their reviews online. If you find out the Wi-Fi isn’t that good, continue searching for a better accommodation. You might want to look into serviced apartments, these usually have great internet connection as the concept of serviced apartments started specifically for corporate travellers.

Planning on working while sipping on your coffee or beer at a café? Remember to check these for W-Fi as well. Additionally, keep the option of mobile internet in mind – perhaps there is a good deal available at your network provider for international calls and data plan.

Are there particular tasks for which physical presence is required? See if there is someone in the office to whom you could delegate task(s) to. This could be a trainee or/and a colleague who can switch a task between one another until you get back. For each task, mention to whom they can go for any questions and information that is needed for that specific task. Are there presentations involved? Provide your colleague with a template of a previous presentation. You need to ask and get a confirmation from these co-workers before pitching your workcation In return for helping you out treat your colleagues with a drink or dinner when you come back.

Furthermore, communication is key! Make clear what communication channel (e.g. FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, Slack) is the best way to reach you and find the right “golden hour” (Every Time Zone) where you and your team members could come online to have meetings, whether this is through video or phone chat. Ps. Do a little research for which software has minimum glitches when you are in a particular continent.  Another thing that might be important, to stay on track while on workcation, is to incorporate an hour or more a ‘do not disturb’ mode to work on your tasks and not create a delay in your prioritized assignments.

Other questions you should bear in mind: are there certain software required for me to meet my deadlines? How do I make sure that I am working via a secured network? C

Once you have sorted out the above points and your working hours, pitch your request to your supervisor and adapt when necessary to receive a green light. Green light means it is time to book your workcation!

 

During your workcation

So, you have booked your workcation, congratulations!

How do I stay productive and motivated during my workcation? Once you arrive at your location, try to use one day to explore where you would like to work from. It could be at a café, the beach, swimming pool area, a room in your booked serviced apartment or at your family’s house. Check the network connectivity and the surroundings of your workplace. Is there a lot of sounds? Can you have your meetings there with minimum noise? Remember to change the scenery now and then to not end up in a slump and become less motivated to work.

Another way to enjoy your work holiday is to check what activities you could attend before, during, or after work hours. Can you swap a working day with a day on the weekend to do some activity that is not related to your work? By involving yourself in an activity you are interested in you might get more relaxed and productive to work on your assignments before or afterwards.

A workcation is handy when you’re in need of a change of scenery or a recharge. A balanced personal and work life can be more joyful (it is possible!).

 

 

By Santa Alcantara


References

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/06/workcations-new-office-trend

https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-summer-how-about-taking-a-workcation-1435072989 

– https://www.themuse.com/advice/wtf-is-a-workcation-hint-something-you-need-now

https://www.themuse.com/advice/want-to-work-from-home-heres-how-to-ask-your-boss

https://www.themuse.com/advice/vacation-checklist-4-steps-to-prepare-for-your-time-off

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/06/16/working-remotely

https://remoteyear.com/blog/what-is-remote-work

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-facts-about-working-remotely-that-arent-too-good-to-be-true

https://www.process.st/working-remotely/

http://time.com/5333239/is-working-remotely-bad-for-you/

https://www.toptal.com/freelance/how-to-work-remotely-and-still-be-the-best

https://blog.weekdone.com/working-remotely-or-remotely-working/

https://medium.com/swlh/effective-tips-for-working-remotely-23cc290a8c08

https://skillcrush.com/2016/10/10/working-remotely-tips/

https://auth0.com/blog/21-tips-for-remote-working/


When you're in Geneva for business

Geneva is a central hub for a lot of business activity and trade fairs. In this blog, we want to talk about what you need to keep in mind when doing business here, especially if you want to become more successful in achieving your business goals while developing strong relationships at the same time. So if you are working for one of the multinationals looking to do business in Geneva or maybe a part of a smaller organisation looking to do international business at one of the events, you are in the right place!


 

First of all, why is Geneva so famous for its business activity and trade fairs? Geneva is a home to a lot of international organisations, and many other multinational companies hold one of their main headquarters in the city. These include the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Plus Facebook, HSBC Private Bank, Microsoft, and others. There are also many business events held in Geneva – you can always find one relevant to your industry and find out more information about statistics and trends or meet potential clients/suppliers. These events include the Geneva Motor Show, blockchain conferences, conferences about energy and the future of the Internet and many more. The main venue for such events is the PalExpo (Geneva Exhibition and Congress Centre) which can seat up to 2,500 people and is located next to the airport. All of these events make Geneva a busy business hub with plenty of activity happening in the area. Famously, Geneva (and Switzerland in general) is also known for its Swiss watches with some top businesses in the industry holding headquarters in the city, including Patek Philippe, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin. The world’s largest physics research centre CERN, investigating the structure of the universe, is also located in Geneva.

 

What should you know when you have just arrived in the city for business? Geneva is the most important city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, though French is not essential here – there is a huge variety of nationalities and languages in the city. Switzerland has four national languages – varying based on the city. In addition, each city has different cultural norms. Therefore, make sure that the person you are doing business with speaks your language or hire an interpreter. In Geneva, everything is easily accessible on foot, however, there is an effective public transport system as well if you’re looking for convenience or need to get somewhere faster. Geneva is an expensive place to stay (rated as the second or third most expensive place in the world for business travel), but some of the most luxurious hotels in the world are also located here, so the higher prices come with high quality. There are a dozen five-star hotels, even though it is a relatively small city. You could say they are “highfordable”! 

If you are arriving by plane and wish to take the public transport, you can make use of a special offer at a  ‘Unireso’ machine and travel by trains and buses for free for 80 minutes. The airport is located 4 minutes away from the city centre. The short journey can also be made by a taxi – they can be found just outside the airport.

Moreover, we have a few tips for you regarding the Swiss culture. Punctuality is important in Switzerland. Well, it is a little less important in French parts, like Geneva, but it is still highly recommended. In the French-speaking parts of Switzerland (including Geneva). small talk can be expected and sometimes a round of (non-alcoholic) drinks can be expected before getting down to business. The locals of the French part are also known as conceptual, analytical thinkers who try to use universal rules to solve problems. The Swiss culture values privacy, so it is better to avoid topics that are too personal. Try to avoid jokes on Swiss culture and humour when possible to avoid offending someone accidentally (works for most cultures, right?). Besides, business cards and gifts are appreciated at the end of negotiations.

 

If you do want to explore the city for a bit of sightseeing and turn your business trip into a bleisure trip, here are some of the top things to do. Geneva’s Old Town has plenty to see and is one of the most scenic areas of Geneva. There are a lot of independent boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and the unique architecture will definitely keep your eyes wandering. Geneva’s Jet d’eau is an enormous water fountain, spouting water 140 meters up into the air – definitely worth a picture. Other good places for this are the Pont du Mont-Blanc and the Promenade du Lac. If you are into humanitarian work, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum displays all the work done by the organisation over the last 150 years. Moreover, Plaine de Plainpalais has one of Switzerland’s biggest and best flea markets involving hundreds of stalls and all kinds of vintage (and not) things.

 

 

 

By Haris Wahid


References

https://www.timeout.com/switzerland/things-to-do/best-things-to-do-in-geneva

https://www.ausbt.com.au/the-basics-of-doing-business-in-zurich-geneva-switzerland

https://www.expatica.com/ch/employment/Doing-business-in-Switzerland-Swiss-business-culture_101552.html

https://www.heathrowexpress.com/news/travel-guides/2014/03/17/the-business-traveller-a-business-travel-guide-to-geneva

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140520-the-art-of-the-swiss-deal


Useful apps for every business traveller

As carrying a laptop or documents around become more of a hassle for every business traveller, app developers are stepping up their game and eliminating the need for these as much as possible. We’ve rounded up some much-needed apps for you because we want to make your life just a bit easier. While there might be some apps mentioned that you might already know, you’re bound to find a new app that you haven’t tried yet. The following apps assist you in planning, organising and networking. We’ve also included some honourable mentions that are simply just handy and worth having them on your smartphone.


Staying organised:

Concur

Most stressful chore during business trips are the expenses. According to The Global Mobility Survey 2018, 17% of business leaders do not keep up with expenses made on business trips. Concur automates this process and benefits not only employees but also the organisations. These apps help make expense reporting simple, fast and accurate. E-receipts capture data directly from airlines, restaurants, hotels and other suppliers. Employees can also take photos of the receipts, saving time and hassle. You can also reconcile expenses with card integration. Organisations can directly approve or reject expense reports through manager access. Furthermore, you can even add car mileage to an expense report!

 

 

Tripit

Another app that keeps your business trip in order is Tripit from Concur. Tripit has the free version and pro version which is $49 per year. With the pro version, you can directly connect your Concur account with the app. Which, if you’re a frequent business traveller, is highly commendable. Don’t get us wrong, the free version is also up to the mark, but the pro version has much more features than the free version. With the free version, you can organise, selectively share, store travel documents, and add or edit your travel plans. With the pro version you get all of that and receive real-time flight alerts, locate alternate flights, find out when a better seat is available, get fare refund notifications, track reward-program points, share plans with your inner circle automatically and save money with VIP travel benefits which provide special offers on CLEAR and Loungebuddy. CLEAR is a biometric screening tool that scans your fingerprint to confirm your identification, allowing you to skip the long lines for ID check. Although, right now it only operates in the US. The Loungebuddy app is a revolutionary app that allows all travellers to access any of the lounges, for as low as $23, in the network without any membership fees, elite statuses or first class tickets required.

 

Asana

Asana is a project-based management app and the teams are organised around these projects. You can create a project with tasks and subtasks and add the team that is with you on the project. Furthermore, you can tag colleagues, add comments, attach files, descriptions and many more.  While you’re on your business trip you can create this as a project, keep track of your trip and meetings and what you’ve already done and still need to do. If your company uses this app, your manager can also keep track of your accomplishments and you can also follow your team’s progress. Asana is a great tool to manage projects and tasks.  

 


Vehicle Apps:

Google Maps

Although Apple Maps and Waze are two worthy contenders, Google Maps stands out with its features that the other two don’t have. Waze has too many ads and Apple Maps doesn’t have the feature for offline use like Google Maps does have, which could come quite handy if you’re data bundle isn’t up to par. It’s easy to use, gives you clear directions and a map view all at once, the background colour will adjust based on the ambient light in your car, and the offline feature allows you to download entire cities or neighbourhood on your device. Furthermore, its pins function is great for sharing your location or even saving your favourite places to visit on your next business trip. You can also add two stops to your route in case you have to do a pit stop on your way to your meeting. Moreover, the app can detect traffic jams and provide you with an alternative route. Lastly, whether you’re travelling by car or not and you need the closest gas station, restaurant or ATM, Google Maps will provide you with that information. The app allows you to search for the nearest banks, hotels, movie theatres, gas station, or even what type of restaurant you’re in the mood for.  

 

ParkWhiz

If you’re in the U.S. or travel there frequently for business, then ParkWhiz is the app for you. It can track down the perfect parking spot in 315 cities across the country and provides users with discounted parking in exclusive areas. The app allows you to choose from a parking lot, private garages and private venues. The app calculates the walking distance from potential parking spots to your final destination, provides you directions and parking instructions. This app is best for people who like to plan and book well ahead of time.

 

Parkopedia

Now, if you’re more of a worldly business traveller, then Parkopedia is the parking app you need. Parkopedia is used by millions of drivers and organisations. It allows you to find the closest parking spot to your destination, gives you the costs and whether there’s space available or not. Parkopedia claims to have over 60 million parking spots (including street parking, car parks and private driveways) in 75 countries.  The app features pre-booking service, real-time parking availability and the ability to pay online.

Uber

If you don’t have a car service booked or a taxi, then Uber can be quite useful to you. The app will use your current location to calculate the fastest route to your final destination and provide you with the costs before you choose the service. You don’t have to have cash on you because the charges go straight to your card. Additionally, you can track your driver in real time while they’re on their way and while you are in transit.

 


Keep in touch apps:

Skype, Whatsapp and WeChat

Use these apps for keeping in touch with your loved ones while you’re abroad without the high charges. You can call, message and video call for free. You can host a conference meeting with video call for up to 10 people with Skype, video call, phone call and create group conversations with WeChat and Whatsapp.  WeChat is best for travellers who are in constant contact with people in China. WeChat is more popular there and is more stable than other social networks.

 

LinkedIn

Which professional doesn’t know about LinkedIn today? If you haven’t downloaded it on your smartphone yet, do it. LinkedIn is for anyone looking to grow their careers even further and it’s a great way to stay in contact with professionals such as yourself. You add connections to your network, private message them through LinkedIn or through the company’s contact information, and you have your resumé laid out for others to see.  You can also follow other companies as “interests” to stay up-to-date with them. LinkedIn has similar features as other social networks, but this one is specifically catered for professionals.

 

CamCard

CamCard is an app that helps you stay on top of your business cards that you most likely receive during conferences and networking. It digitilizes the information on the business card and adds the relevant information on your virtual Rolodex (your contact list). Therefore you’ll never lose another business card again! It digitalises a business card by using its optical character reader by taking a snapshot photo of the card and can digest the information in 17 different languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Swedish. It can also translate phone numbers, decipher social media handles and has a web interface where you can manage the contacts efficiently. It has two versions: the free version and the $3 premium version. The free version has full functionality but has a limited amount of scanning 200 cards.

 


Honourable mentions:

ClassPass

This app is the most flexible fitness membership there is! This app allows you to search for nearby gym classes, book classes, watch workout videos and build a community. You can choose from thousands of workouts such as boxing, yoga, spinning and much more. This app has 3 types of subscriptions, one of £35/month which is 27 credits or 2 or 3 classes, £55/month which is 45 credits or 3-5 classes and £105/month which is 90 credits or 7-11 classes. The amount of credits per classes depends on each studio. But not to worry, if you’ve used up your credits you can always buy more. This is a very worthwhile app if you’re an avid “workoutaholic” or like to stay fit and you’re constantly travelling. Especially since many gyms do not offer one day passes.

 

Google Translate

Not everyone you meet while abroad will know English, your language, or vice versa. That’s why, do us all a favour, and download this app. It will help you in cafe’s when you’re in dire need of coffee or beer, or with cab drivers. You can point your device’s camera on the text you want to translate and the app will provide you with a real-time translation on your screen. What’s even better is that you can download translation packages onto your smartphone meaning it will still allow you to translate without internet. It’s a practical tool and will save you and the barista a few minutes of trying to understand each other.   

 

These apps replace many other apps because they save you space on your smartphone and spares you the hassle of always switching to and from multiple other apps, therefore also saving you time. If you’re not convinced yet, download them and try it out for yourself. You can thank us later!

 

By Ronaly van der Biest


References

Harbison, A. (2017). Nine must-have apps for business travellers. [Blog] ICAS. Available at: https://www.icas.com/ca-today-news/9-must-have-apps-for-business-travellers [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Hanbury, M. (2018). The 22 best apps for business travellers. [Blog] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.nl/best-business-travel-apps-2017-3/?international=true&r=US [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Channer, R. (2018). The 10 Best Apps to Pack for Business Travel. [Blog] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248287

McCallum, J. (2017). 10 great apps for business travel. [Blog] In the back. Available at: https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2017/08/22/10-apps-business-trips

Clearme.com. (2018). CLEAR – The fastest, most reliable way to fly through security.. [online] Available at: https://www.clearme.com/how-it-works

Loungebuddy.com. (2018). Airport Lounges: Reviews & Club Access Worldwide | LoungeBuddy. [online] Available at: https://www.loungebuddy.com/?source=homepage#howItWorks

Bond, J. (2018). Waze vs Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Which one works best?. [Blog] The Daily Dot. Available at: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/waze-vs-google-maps-vs-apple-maps/

Asana. (2018). About Asana; Features, uses, and product info. [online] Available at: https://asana.com/product

Purewall, S. (2016). 5 apps to help you digitally organize business cards. [Blog] MacWorld. Available at: https://www.macworld.com/article/3088655/ios-apps/5-apps-to-help-you-digitally-organize-business-cards.html

Concur.com. (2018). Expense Management Software, Travel Software & Invoice Software – SAP Concur. [online] Available at: https://www.concur.com/

TripIt. (2018). TripIt – Travel Itinerary – Trip Planner. [online] Available at: https://www.tripit.com/

Parkopedia.com. (2018). About Parkopedia. [online] Available at: https://www.parkopedia.com/about-us/