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to think that on a work trip, evening events should not be mandatory?

(38 Posts)
AFewGoodWomen Fri 13-Nov-15 13:18:45

I am on a week long business trip in Paris. Breakfast meetings at the hotel, networking breakfasts, full day long meetings in a huge drafty meeting room. Then in the evening, 'team building dinners'.

AIBU to think that's too much? That I have attended a walking tour of the Marais district, a dinner in a museum and a buffet at the hotel. Last night there was another dinner thing which I skipped. My boss is pissed off.

AIBU to think that being on a business trip does not mean every waking moment has to be in the service of business?

Maroonie Fri 13-Nov-15 13:24:29

I'd expect a balance, if things are arranged then you should participate
but if your away for a full week I'd expect a night or two with nothing planned.

carabos Fri 13-Nov-15 13:28:17

Hmm. I sympathise. I went on a project team to Sweden and we were effectively "at work" from 7 am until midnight or sometimes later. There was no need for it and when one of the team suggested drawing up a rota which would allow everyone to have an evening off and a late morning she was roundly told off. Both she and I were the only Brits on the team and we were told to slow down, take our meal breaks and generally stop making others nervous with our activity levels. We got feedback that we weren't sufficiently culturally aware hmm.

Thing was, we had big chunks of free time during the day, which was just daft. Oldies like me would nip off for a bit of sightseeing, young 'uns went back to bed grin. It would have been much more efficient to have fewer people on during the day and create shifts.

TheLambShankRedemption Fri 13-Nov-15 13:29:13

Sounds like standard practice business travel to me. Always sounds glamorous, but it is usually hard going with long days working, learning and networking.

I am not surprised your boss is pissed off with you. YWBU to skip something on the programme without prior agreement. Team building and networking on a residential is part of the course. I appreciate it can be exhausting though.

MaxPepsi Fri 13-Nov-15 13:31:06

I suppose it would depend on what type of business you are in and whether or not networking in an evening is part and parcel of it.

I would expect some down time, but again, it all depends on what kind of work you do at home.

For my old employer, one team were permanently networking, but they took it turns for the work/life balance. However, if they had to work away for whatever reason, there was no home balance as they weren't there, so they were expected to be on call 24/7.

Skiptonlass Fri 13-Nov-15 13:31:56

God I hate shit like this. When I'm away with work it's 6am-1am and it's exhausting.

My snr management are the type of extroverted idiots who can't deal with a gap in the schedule and need every moment to be exciting and scheduled.

Hate it. Unfortunately you probably need to suck it up - that's the nature of the business world. I cope by not drinking and slipping away any opportunity I get.

Last time I had to explain to my boss why her 'wacky team building" shit wasn't going to go down well with two hundred scientists researchers and medics. I was told I was negative (and got marked down on my appraisal!!)

Several senior folks approached us during the evening with a variation on "hi skip, good to see you, thank god there's none of that team building shit this time, everyone hates that."

My boss was fuming smile

MrsCaecilius Fri 13-Nov-15 13:31:53

I totally feel your pain and have spent more weeks than I care to remember effectively without a waking moment to call my own on business trips.

Luckily I am thi8ck skinned enough to shirk a fair few of the social events and bugger off by myself. But it is hard when you get it in the neck.

All I can say is that people who are happy to talk work for 18 hours a day must either have fascinating jobs or be terribly dull people....

zipzap Fri 13-Nov-15 13:33:12

I agree with you - I think that you should work 'normal' hours when you are on a business trip. Or if some significant excess hours are required then you should get some time in lieu. If you're away for several days then I can see that it would be reasonable to have a 'last meal' all together somewhere nice, that they are paying for and maybe if it's a long long time you are there (ie a working week) maybe it's nice to have a 'getting to know you' meal at the start if you don't know each other or if you do, and you don't get to see each other regularly, then to faciliate a getting back together meal of some sort. Rest of the time should be for you to take advantage of the disadvantage you're at by not being at home. If they want to organise things that people can come along to if they want to, no obligation, that can be nice, can be too much depending on how it's done.

Not sure that bosses would always agree with me though. Some of them seem to think that it's a) a treat that you should be greatful to be in Paris or wherever, b) that you are over there because of them so all your time should be work time in case, heaven forbid, that you think that you are on holiday and c) to make doubly sure that you noticed (b) that you shouldn't be allowed to treat it like a holiday and explore the bits you want to in your own time as you don't get free time...

Skiptonlass Fri 13-Nov-15 13:34:10

carabos I live in Sweden .

Not stopping for morning coffee (Fika) or lunch is a massive cultural faux pas. smile

Nation of introverts ... I love it here!

MuttonCadet Fri 13-Nov-15 13:34:59

I'm sat in an international airport right now after a week away and I was never "off", we work from the time we get up until we go to bed.

That's the facts of life of a business trip, people who haven't been on one think it's a jolly, people who have know better.

(Mind you the business class travel is a bit of a bonus) wink

Skiptonlass Fri 13-Nov-15 13:36:51

Lucky you ;) my lot send me cattle class every time !

mannequinonthemove Fri 13-Nov-15 13:37:49

In my experience your time is not your own on business trips so you have to go to everything scheduled. However if your organisation offers TOIL I'd be claiming it back for every waking hour doing anything even vaguely work related including dinners. Still not a great deal IMO as you don't get to sleep in your own bed, but at least you might get a couple of days extra holiday for it.

MuttonCadet Fri 13-Nov-15 13:38:38

Sending you some free wineSkipton lass

Arabidopsis Fri 13-Nov-15 13:38:59

I think it depends on what allowances are made elsewhere.

e.g. OH went away with work, picked up by taxi to get to the airport at 3 am on the Monday, 2 days of day and evening events, picked up at 6am to get flight home, 5 hours of travelling and expected to go into work for the afternoon = taking the piss. Had they allowed him to take the afternoon off, the mandatory evening events would have been ok.

JessieMcJessie Fri 13-Nov-15 13:39:17

It all depends on the nature of your organisation. Are these evening events necessary to build client relationships, effectively ensuring that enough work is brought in to keep the business afloat? Of so then YABU, working in that sort of organisation requires commitment to marketing.

On the other hand, if only internal people are at these events then (although team-building is important to all organisations) it does sound a bit full-on.

carabos I don't quite understand why on the one hand your colleague was criticised for trying to plan time off for everyone, yet on the other hand you were told to "slow down" and "stop making others nervous with your activity levels" . Wasn't that exactly what your friend was trying to do?

AFewGoodWomen Fri 13-Nov-15 13:46:00

It is internal folk only, so skipping last night did not leave a client adrift at dinner.

HappenstanceMarmite Fri 13-Nov-15 13:47:24

Ah the enforced "fun" of arranged evening activities. A punishment reward for all your hard work during the business day. With the added bonus of only half an hour to get showered/changed in your room before joining your fellow poor tortured inmates colleagues at the bar for cocktails.

I've had the good fortune of visiting many beautiful countries for business trips. Might as well have been held in a run down British seaside town for all I saw of them.

TeenAndTween Fri 13-Nov-15 13:57:27

I learned the following with my Dutch counterparts on numerous trips to Eindhoven:

In UK a meeting starts at 10am. So shortly before 10 you grab a coffee and arrive with it at 10. Sit down and start.

In The Netherlands, a meeting starts at 10, so at 10 you go off to get a coffee, so actually arrive at room around 10:05/10:10. Then of course you have to shake hands with everyone. So you don't really get going until 10:15.

My life was much happier once I realised that and started trying to schedule less in a visit.

I hated forced entertainment in the evenings on trips. One big problem was they always went on so late and I need my sleep!

specialsubject Fri 13-Nov-15 14:01:29

when I'm president team-building will be outlawed. It NEVER works. People who want to socialise with colleagues will make arrangements to do so.

it is usually a sign of poor management - not noticing the lazy ones, the struggling ones, the ones doing all the work.

Boysclothes Fri 13-Nov-15 14:04:42

In Uganda, you'd arrive at 09.50 for your 10am meeting, greeted politely, asked to sit on a bench and wait for the boss, who would appear at 11.30.

Boredofthinkingofnewnames Fri 13-Nov-15 14:06:15

We have an industry event in Cannes every year. Wednesday to Friday but I have to go Tuesday to help set up. It's horrendous. Full on from breakfast till 2/3 in the morning. The latter half is admittedly a big piss up bit you still have to be 'on'. People who have to go don't want to and those that don't go want to but they don't realise what it's like.

wickedwaterwitch Fri 13-Nov-15 14:07:34

God that would piss me off - it's about having to be 'on' for all that time and no silence or time to yourself

Business travel isn't as glamorous as people think, it's a right pita

Mistigri Fri 13-Nov-15 14:10:00

YANBU but unfortunately it will depend on your company's corporate culture.

I often refuse to do corporate things in the evening. But I'm 51 and they can't get rid of me and I don't care what my boss's boss thinks of me grin.

I'll attend evening events only if I like the people or it's in my interest - am on a work trip next week will be 7am to 11pm for four days, but I will get a lot of value out of the meetings so I don't mind. I routinely refuse to go to industry shindigs though - waste of my time and I don't like drunk City types.

DinosaursRoar Fri 13-Nov-15 14:16:16

Standard that dinners are work events, sorry. It's more likely that parts of the day events can be dropped if you don't want to do them - anything that's 'fun' and not a proper meeting in the day time would be expected to not have full attendance at my old job (mainly because it was expected that people flying in from other countries/cities would use the opportunity when there to meet up with clients, so would use those 'walking tours' times to go have meetings).

MrsCaecilius Fri 13-Nov-15 14:19:48

Ironically if the evening events weren't mandatory I'd be a lot more likely to chose to go!

Not good at 'forced fun'....

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