Business Spotlight: Making your presents count
WORK & RELAX
IN THE ZONE
Making your presents count
Wenn man Ende einer Geschäftsreise am Flughafen Mitbringsel für die Familie daheim kauft — zählt das noch als Arbeitszeit, oder hat damit die Freizeit schon begonnen? Ian McMaster und Vicki Sussens gehen dieser Frage nach.
When Dan Lloyd (name changed) walks through security into an airport departure hall, he feels displaced. In that no-man’s land between the security check and the boarding gate, there is no return to the country or city left behind.
Dan enters an unreal space where tired travelers bend over digital gadgets, wait at boarding gates or just stare into space. Like Dan, many businesspeople find themselves in situations in which it is not clear whether they are “on duty” (at work) or “off duty” (in one’s leisure time). But Dan is grateful for one thing after a tiring business trip — the airport shops. As a manager at a technology firm in Munich, the Briton buys presents for his wife and two sons whenever he is away on one of his frequent business trips.
This is partly out of guilt, Dan explains. “But it is also an attempt to involve my family in the trip, for example by buying something with a link to where I was.” This has included pens in the shape of a moose head from Helsinki, and T-shirts and mugs with images of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Dan makes up to 50 business trips a year, mostly within Europe but also three to four times to the US. On average, he is away from home two nights a week. And he pays for it — thought he presents he buys.
“The type of present depends on how long I am away and on the family’s expectations,” Dan says. “If it’s a day trip to Vienna, I might buy my wife a box of Mozart-Kugeln from the airport. If it’s Indonesia, I might buy her a sarong dress, a necklace of local design or a new designer suitcase.” When he goes to Silicon Valley, his sons expect something cool and electronic — iPods or remote control helicopters, for example. “And they always want baseball caps,” Dan says.
A recent survey for London City Airport asked international business traveler show they shopped. The airport is close to the financial district and more than half of its customers are business travelers, compared to just 30 per cent for the largest London airport, Heathrow.
Two thirds of those questioned in the survey said they buy presents for family or friends and almost a quarter buy them for colleagues.