Let Business Trips Mix with Pleasure

Last Updated Apr 9, 2007 2:46 PM EDT

I'm sending three of my employees to Japan for a series of tightly scheduled meetings, and they've asked to extend their trip for two days, with pay, to do some site-seeing. I'm not in the business of paying people to be tourists, but I understand that I'm asking a lot from them with this trip. Where's the line?

Two days of pay is a small price to pay. A business trip to the other side of the world is a grueling demand. If your employees return happy and energized, they'll be better employees.

Japan is obviously an exotic place, and your employees want to see more of it than just the view from the window of their hotel room and the taxi ride to a meeting. This is a reasonable request.

Of course you're not in the business of paying people to play golf. But you're business is based on your employees, and the more leeway you give them to explore themselves and this world, the more you will win in the long run.

Work is a tough business. It involves sacrifices. You stay late. You spend 36 hours on a plane to Japan. You forgo holidays and family events when it's crunch time. If there's a window for you to repay your employees in even the smallest way, take it. They'll respect you more, trust you more, and give you more of their best selves.

There's an old saying: next to a man's love, the most important thing he has to give is his labor. Being a good boss means inspiring love along with that labor.  Let them eat sushi and take pictures of Mount Fuji, and you'll pocket a little bit of love that will go along way.

Have a workplace-ethics dilemma? Ask it here, or email wherestheline@gmail.com.

  • William Baker

    William Baker is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA. His work has appeared in Popular Science, the Boston Globe Magazine, the New York Daily News, Boston Magazine, The Weekly Dig and a bunch of other places (including Field & Stream, though he doesn't hunt and can't really fish). He is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, where he writes the weekly column, "Meeting the Minds." He holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is at work on his first book.