Traveling makes girls better employees.
We tend to feel richer on a personal level, but these benefits apply to the workplace as well. From exposing us to different cultures to helping us communicate better, traveling has a positive impact on our professional life and positions us to thrive at work.
Below, in this article, we nailed down the many ways traveling benefits our work life. Especially for girls.
You learn valuable communication skills
While traveling, you’ll undoubtedly run into communication difficulties. Whether it’s due to language barriers or cultural nuances, it will challenge you to actively listen and be creative in how you communicate with others. The workplace is no different.
Earlier this year, The Economist Intelligence Unit and Lucid chart compiled a report revealing that 42% of employees attribute misunderstandings at work to different communication styles. Going abroad and experiencing these communication barriers makes you more aware of differences in communication styles back at work, no matter how subtle.
You rest your brain, which fosters your creativity
Whether you’re trying to overcome a creative block or you feel stuck in a career rut, a change of scenery might just be the answer to your question. For even the high-achieving, creative individuals, taking a break has been known as one of the best stimuli for creativity. In fact, the CEO of Noken, Marc Escapa came up with the business idea while traveling to Iceland.
A study from the University of British Columbia found that as our mind wanders, brain areas associated with complex problem-solving are highly active. This can lead to eureka moments, a term coined by thought leader David Burkus, and defined as flashes of insight that come out of periods when the mind isn’t focused on the problem. Traveling often places us in environments where we’re exposed to different ways of thinking, which can solve some of our personal problems in ways we would’ve never considered before. As Burkus argues, when you take a break, you release the fixation on the same old solutions and let your old ways of thinking fade from memory. When you return to the original problem, your mind is open to new possibilities, which gives way to eureka moments.
You build connections around the world
Traveling provides a great opportunity to create a global network. With tools like LinkedIn, shared co-working spaces, alumni groups and social media platforms, there are many opportunities to connect with people (old and new). This networking might not only help you in your current role, but also open up new doors for your career. Perhaps you’d be open to relocate or transition into a new career somewhere else; having a global group of connections can create these opportunities for you.
You build cultural competency and become a better leader
Traveling prepares you for the quickly diversifying workforce of today. More than ever, companies are becoming global and diverse. This increased diversity leads to better business outcomes, but it also creates a more complicated team dynamic, which must be actively managed and nurtured.
Whether you want to get along with co-workers from all walks of life or be a better manager to your direct reports, your travels can help you accomplish that. In addition to making you familiar with different communication styles, traveling exposes you to cultures that most likely differ from your own—even in the smallest ways. According to Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley, building highly-functioning diverse teams is no small task. When team members come from different countries and functional backgrounds and are working in different locations, communication can rapidly deteriorate, misunderstanding can ensue, and cooperation can degenerate into distrust. By traveling abroad and experiencing new cultures and ways of life, people equip themselves to better manage and lead diverse teams.
It Can Increase Your Cultural Competency
One branch of a large, global corporation is located in the relatively small community (i.e., the population is about 19,000) where I live. Employees at that branch have collaborated with colleagues in Singapore, Scotland, Nigeria, Brazil, and Dubai. Many of the people who work at this company weren’t necessarily looking for an international experience when they found employment there, but they have to understand their position in a global corporation to be effective. For example, I once watched a family member return to her office at this company at 9 PM, after being home from her workday for several hours. When I asked what in the world she was doing, she explained that she’d forgotten to enter some critical data in the system, and the Nigeria team would be arriving for their workday in a few hours and needed that information to complete their part of the work. Leaving it for the next day just wasn’t an option because it impacted the processes of an entire plant overseas.
Employees at the local plant also have to be mindful of customs and holidays at other locations that may impact the work schedule or their ability to reach their colleagues in those locations, as well as communicating our local holidays to their counterparts worldwide who might not know that the local office will be closed. In an increasingly globalized society, learning to accept and appreciate cultural differences is a good move for your career. You certainly don’t have to leave the country to increase your comfort when interacting with people of different races or cultures, but immersing yourself in another culture can create an unparalleled awareness and understanding of people who are different than you.
With that kind of understanding, when you have to talk to a colleague in Singapore to figure out why something has gone awry with an assignment, you’ll be less stressed about the interaction and less likely to feel barriers to communication—which means you’ll be more likely to easily reach a solution. Everyone wins.
Traveling abroad can be a pricey investment, but it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable barrier. Look for scholarships if you’re traveling with a class, or read travel websites and blogs to learn how to cut expenses while you’re abroad. It’s worth it: This is an investment that can change your world—and your career.