One of the biggest trends in business has been the increase in the number of people leaving the traditional brick and mortar workplace to work remotely from their own home or alternative location. Travel planners, especially the increasing number of independent contractors, are following suit. The number of travel advisors working from home is growing. ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) reports that nearly 40% of their members work from home. Forget the visions of sitting in bed working on a laptop wearing pajamas, the following tips will motivate travel advisors to grow their business when working at home.
Stick to a schedule
Working at home means more flexibility than working the traditional nine-to-five hours. Commute time can be replaced by running the kids to school or taking a kick-boxing class. However, in the end, you need to be available when your clients are available. Travelers need to have confidence they can get in touch with you during specific times of the day.
A consistent routine also helps you keep a work-life balance. For travel advisors whose office is wherever their computer or cell phone is, it is easy to slip into work-mode during non-traditional hours. Most often, the challenge is limiting the number of hours spent on job tasks within the duration of a normal work week. There are terrific free tools available to manage your schedule such as Google Calendar, or set up time tracking through Toggl.
Set up a space where you can be productive. Whether working from a home office, the library or local coffee house, stay focused by turning off automatic notices from non-critical emails and social media. Home-based offices often have the added distraction of family members; make sure to communicate your scheduled work hours with them.
Keep in touch
The upside of working in a traditional workplace setting is the camaraderie of co-workers to bounce ideas from, share the workload or just share an anecdotal story with at the water cooler. Working from home means working in a more solitary setting. Home-based travel advisors who are part of a larger organization should schedule time to routinely check in with their home office. Independent consultants can benefit from networking with other travel planners or home-based workers in other fields. Additionally, keep up with the trends in your profession by subscribing to resources like Group Tour magazine, attending webinars or educational conferences and following travel related groups on social media.