Etiquette for business travel

You’re traveling with co-workers–or the boss–and you’re not quite sure what rules apply. On the one hand, you’re out of the office on something like a vacation and you think that the etiquette might be relaxed a bit. On the other hand, you don’t want your co-workers remembering you as that guy who got hungover and puked all over the executive suite. It’s important to know the difference between relaxed and professional when traveling for business with others from the office.

There are three times of the trip to consider regarding business travel etiquette: the travel, the work time and your downtime. You can be relaxed during the travel portion of your trip but you should also be on good behavior. In other words, wear jeans and a T-shirt on the drive in the rental car but don’t use the time to make racist jokes or let people in on your bedroom secrets. Offer to chip in for gas, even if it’s covered by the expense account, and to let others drive if the trip is long enough to warrant it. Always ask the boss if (s)he would prefer to drive, would like the window seat, etc.

While in the office during the trip, you should not only be on normal office behavior but should actually be more professional than when you’re in your home office. You are representing the out-of-town company; represent it well. Even if you and your co-workers are close back home, maintain professional standards while in the office.

As for downtime, you might want to let the co-workers know that this is your time alone. Go out, see the city, have a wild time if you want, but do it without their presence. If you do go out with the boss or co-workers, skip the lap dances and the fourth martini.
Creative Commons License Photo credit: Mr. T in DC

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