Us ladies have a hard time picking out a single ensemble to wear for our day at the office – now just think of the agony that comes with packing for a work- away conference! If you haven’t yet been on a work-away conference and are unsure of what it is – the name says it all. For a few days in the working calendar, companies whisk some of their employees away (not for fun and games, unfortunately) for the sole purpose of training, or exposing their teams to new industry techniques or regulations. The conference venue could be anywhere – it could be held in another town, city or even country – and you’ll be expected to be fully prepared – outfits, laptops, training manuals, the works! There is no time for error – as we know, bosses love to get the most out of us and our time, so running around shopping for a smart outfit that you completely forgot to pack, is not going to be reserved for, in his schedule!
With only one chance to get it right – this is your time to pull out all the stops when it comes to packing. We recommend you either draw up a table of what you’re wearing when, scribble down a list of the items that need to be dragged along in your handbag, or you could make planning and packing much easier and take a look at our handy tips and tricks!
Clothing (the most important to us ladies)
The correct clothing for a work trip is possibly the most fundamental element of the entire planning process – after the laptop. When a company attends a conference, they expect their employees to represent their company in a positive, professional light. This is not just because they want you to be reminded that it’s not a vacation but a work-related getaway, but also because industry-focused conferences usually have extended the invite to other companies, too (who are most likely competitors). Dressing appropriately speaks volumes, and you don’t want to ‘miss the memo’!
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll need a few smart outfits – after all, this is work! You’ll need a smart ensemble for each day and possibly for the evenings, too. It all depends on the nature of the work trip. You may want to ask some questions regarding this so that you’re fully prepared.
To look smart and professional, opt for a pantsuit, knee-length dress or a high-waisted skirt and a smart blouse. Black is always the safest colour, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s flattering! Throw on a pair of polished, pretty heels and a few accessories, and you’re good to go!
There will most-likely be some down-time during the work-away trip – unless your boss is a drill sergeant? (don’t answer that). These times will call for a casual outfit, but we don’t mean short shorts and a crop top. One still needs to be aware of the fact that this is work. Your best bet is a summer dress, knee length shorts and a tee, or a flattering jumpsuit.
Source: Holiday Suitcase
You will often see the word smart/casual detailed on the conference invite, under the dress code. Don’t worry if this utterly confuses you and gets you into a cold sweat – it happens to the best of us! The definition of smart/casual is: look like you’ve ‘tried’, but not too hard. We know that’s just as confusing, so let’s rather give you an example: you may wear jeans (if they’re smart and free of tears and knee holes). Your top or blouse should fully cover all your bits as well as your shoulders but doesn’t have to be too ‘uptight’ in terms of colour. The shoes are left to your own discretion – but, um, who wouldn’t want to sport some gorgeous heels or wedges?!
Shoes are a little less difficult to decide on. You pretty much just need to make sure that they go with your outfits and that you have some variety in terms of casual and smart styles. Of course, you’ll need a great pair of heels to go with your smart attire, as well as flats for your casual wear, but don’t forget running shoes. Yes, we said running shoes. Don’t worry, we’re quite certain you’re not going to be asked to run – drop that anxiety, sister! However, you never know when you may need them – you might need to sprint down to the corner shop for the mascara you left behind and can’t be seen dead without.
Don’t listen to what you’ve heard or what you’ve read about accessories being unimportant. There is no possible way to look professional and polished, without a great pair of earrings, at least. If you’re not a jewellery girl, just take one for the team this time!
You also can’t forget your handbag. We’d recommend one big enough to be a dumping-ground for papers, training manuals and your doodle drawings that were created out of pure boredom.
Notepads and Pens
You need to look like you’re interested and are taking notes, especially when you’re in a training session – with your boss. So don’t forget the pens and paper and don’t forget to use them.
If it were possible to live and work without tech gadgets, we’d say it wasn’t too necessary to pack in. But let’s be honest: we cannot go even five minutes without them. They allow us to take notes, access emails and download ‘super important’ material. So, DON’T forget your laptop or your smartphone and perhaps consider taking a USB stick along, too. The tablet, however, can stay at home – unless you feel lost without it.
One last thing to remember when it comes to tech gadgets: the chargers and the adapters!
The Obvious Must-Haves
We’re not going to bore you with a long list of must-haves – you’ll know what you need to keep your world from coming to an end. But things like toiletries and underwear, hairbrushes and makeup should definitely be on the list and in the bag!
We trust you’re feeling a little less overwhelmed than before, and are feeling confident to take the world by storm! With those feisty heels and red lipstick, we have all the faith you’ll get the job done, with ease!