Today’s business world is more connected than ever via the web, but that doesn’t mean talent mobility is any less important. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that Americans collectively take 405 million long-distance business trips each year. Three-fourths of this business travel is less than 250 miles from the point of origin, but even those distances can have an impact of employee productivity. Whether your staff members are traveling by car or plane, it’s important that they stay productive while traveling. Here are four tips that will help to optimize business travel:

1. Encourage learning opportunities
It’s simply not possible to use every moment of a trip to be productive. Standing in line at security, dealing with shaky Wi-Fi at the airport and commuting to client meetings just do not afford good opportunities for getting work done. Nevertheless, downtime doesn’t have to be a complete waste of time, either. Encourage employees to make use of that time by studying up on relevant news, listening to industry podcasts or reading a book. These more relaxed tasks may even lead to an employee’s Next Big Idea.

2. Track everything
Employers can benefit from having as much data as possible. The ability to track itineraries, expenses, taxes and even immigration data is invaluable to the business. That’s why MSI has introduced TravelPointe™, a tool that will allow managers to not only track each of those important metrics, but also engage travelers at any point during the lifecycle of the business trip. The system eliminates redundancies and creates a standardized system to fully optimize talent mobility administration.

Use downtime to study up on industry news and trends.Use downtime to study up on industry news and trends.

3. Make a plan for productivity
A successful business trip is one that’s been planned out ahead of time. That goes for the meetings themselves, but also for the time in between those meetings. Employees should decide ahead of time what tasks they plan to accomplish on the road. The Muse reported that to-do lists and smartphone apps are great for planning and tracking important tasks. Just keep in mind that travel often does not go according to plan – but that can be taken into account as well. High priority tasks should never be left for mid-travel. But less time sensitive tasks such as email correspondence or note taking can be incorporated into the itinerary.

4. Scout work spaces
When employees travel frequently, they should know where the best places to work actually are. For instance, iMeetCentral suggested that, if one worker always has a long layover at the same airport, he should know where all the best spots are to set up a laptop and get some work done. Those with really important work to do may even want to consider investing in a membership to an airline’s priority lounge, where they’re guaranteed access to better Wi-Fi and more comfortable seats.

Have your own tips for business travel productivity? Let us hear them by tweeting @MSIGTS.