Management Tip of the Day: Decide if travel is really worth it

BOSTON Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:11am EDT

A passenger travels on a scooter with his luggage at Heathrow airport in London March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A passenger travels on a scooter with his luggage at Heathrow airport in London March 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

BOSTON (Reuters) - Once you figure the true cost, it might emerge that the meeting you have always travelled to could just as easily be handled by conference call, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Do you often need to get on a plane to go to a meeting? Travel consumes a lot of time, and you shouldn't show up in person just because that's what you've always done.

Here's how to assess the real value of travel:

1. Understand the true cost. The full cost of your trip isn't limited to airfare, hotel, and meals. Consider the hours spent getting to the airport, waiting in the terminal, and returning home. Don't forget to factor in the opportunity costs - the value you could have created if you had stayed put.

2. Calculate the return on investment. Compare the value produced by your trip to its actual cost. Is there a net gain or loss?

3. Consider other options. If there's a net loss or insignificant gain, ask whether you have viable alternatives. Can the meeting be handled by conference call? If so, cancel the trip."

- Today's management tip was adapted from "the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Time Management."

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