Work Travel

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Recently, I was traveling from Denver back home to Dallas and was sat next to an inquisitive individual that worked in the medical field. We started chatting and he became fascinated with consultants’ travel schedules. After speaking with him, I decided that a blog explaining my travel schedule at Thought Ensemble might spark the interest of those who either do not know much about the industry, or who are only familiar with the travel schedules of the average consulting firms. Typically, when I travel, it’s for about 2-3 days, and my schedule is as follows:

Monday: Calls, calls, calls. Mondays are spent game planning, checking where we are on the project, discussing what needs to be done, and making sure the team is aligned and ready to meet with the client on Tuesday. Part of the reason why we’re able to do 2-3-day travel weeks is because of how transparent our teams are with our clients. To make reduced travel work, we are constantly in communication with project stakeholders to ensure that we are on the right track.

Tuesday:

4:37 AM – First Alarm
4:45 AM – Second Alarm
5:00 AM – Wake up
5:12 AM – Uber Arrives
5:30 AM – Arrive at airport
5:45 AM – Board
6:00 AM – Take Off
7:10 AM – Land in Denver
8:30 AM – Arrive at client, bags in hand

When you read the timeline above, it’s easy to assume that it’s always changing and difficult to schedule around; it’s not. After flying to Denver every week, for about 15 weeks last year, the routine became part of my permanent schedule. I literally have it timed so that I can walk through the airport, without stopping, and get right in the boarding line.

As soon as we arrive at the client we have meetings/follow ups scheduled from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. These meetings catch the client up on what we’ve been doing, where we are, and what’s needed for the rest of the week (hence all of the Monday prep). This is usually followed by the group grabbing a quick bite to eat and then continuing to work through the end of the day.

6:00 – 6:30 PM – Leave client
6:45 – 7:00 – Walk to the hotel, consider going to the gym, realize that there’s probably going to be no marginal gain and grab a drink instead
7:30 PM – Team dinner or solo dinner depending on what people have going on
8:00 PM – Turn the laptop back on and continue to prep for Wednesday
10:00 PM – Sleep

Wednesday:

Wednesdays are spent working on deliverables and having any follow up meetings that we missed on Tuesday. The team is working in a huddle room and asking questions to the client on the fly. If we are onsite with a client for two days, this is usually the day we divide the work among our team and set goals for what we need to accomplish. Clients typically appreciate this transparency because they know exactly how far along in the process we are.

7:00 PM – Arrive at airport
7:15 PM – Eat guilty pleasure food (for me that’s Panda Express)
9:30 PM – Arrive in Dallas
11:00 PM – Lights out

Thursday and Friday

These are our heads-down working days. By this time, we should have all the client feedback that we need to continue iterating and working on our deliverables. Friday afternoon we usually have a touchpoint call with the client to let them know what they can expect during Monday’s review.

The 2-3-day travel week has lessened the burden of traditional consulting by giving flexibility that has not existed in the past. Thought Ensemble is cognizant to the fact that travel is hard and any extra time at home makes a big difference. In some cases, consistent work travel becomes stale as time goes on; however, with the shortened travel week, I actually enjoy getting out to the client site and making an impact in a short period of time.

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