I am obliged to autonomously count my work hours and see that they are in balance with the work contract. While I already asked my manager, I would like to have an independent view on the following:

Next week I will be on my first multi-day business trip, to the Ignite expo in Chicago, as an Exhibitor.

So there are

  • business hours (being on the expo site)
  • leisure time (sleeping, shopping, eating at home, visiting museums)

and then there are hours I don't know how to count:

  • flights, ways from / to both airports
  • ways between hotel and expo
  • eating out with possible customers
  • eating out with the company's expo team only
  • sitting in the hotel, talking about the expo day, planning the next day
  • sitting in the hotel, talking about anything else

The last two points are special when considering that the topic can change multiple times in under five minutes, and the same talking could happen on the ways and when eating out. The distinction work/leisure is getting really blurred here.

So, how does one count the hours for such a trip?

  • 1
    You could count business hours at the expo in one total and then keep a separate total count for business meetings (including eating out). If it isn't a business meeting, don't count it (if you're in the hotel chatting and you aren't obligated to be there, it isn't a business meeting)
    – Brandin
    Apr 27, 2015 at 9:48
  • 3
    Why are you asking us about your own company's policies? Ask your HR. Or ask those of your colleagues who are going to the Expo with you. Apr 27, 2015 at 10:12
  • @VietnhiPhuvan Our company does not have a written or customary policy. To my knowledge, it is the first such trip of a fixed-salary employee. The colleagues I accompany are either associates or working for commission. Neither of them counts hours, they only count money. They asked me to join because of a shortage of sales people, because a second event happens to be at the same time.
    – Alexander
    Apr 27, 2015 at 10:38
  • That being the case, you need to press your company to establish a policy. If you hand them a timesheet for hours they haven't agreed to pay you, they're going to get their shorts in a knot over it.
    – Blrfl
    Apr 27, 2015 at 13:32
  • 1
    Draft a document stating what you think the policy should be. Ask for a meeting with your manager and hammer out the details.
    – Brian
    Apr 27, 2015 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Of those last six, I would class all but the last one as business. You are doing them as part of the conference, not as part of personal interests.

That last one doesn't sound like business.

A lot depends on your company's expenses policy, but I'd always argue that if the time is for your company then it is business, otherwise personal.

  • Well, just as another data point: My company counts train/plane trips as 50% business time, since you have to be there due to the expo and 50% leisure time, since you can read or play games on your laptop. Apr 27, 2015 at 13:05
  • Ahh - we were expected to work on the journey, which is why our travel to a conference/expo was all business.
    – Rory Alsop
    Apr 27, 2015 at 13:08
  • 3
    @Godzillarissa That's kind of an awful policy. For your enitre time in transit you are unable to do most of the things that you are able to do in your leasure time. It's not like you can spend half of your transit time mowing your lawn or playing with your kids.
    – Myles
    Apr 27, 2015 at 15:08
  • 1
    Not sure about transit between hotel and expo. I think most companies would consider that the same as your regular commute (although probably faster), i.e., something you would have to do on your own time, even if you were at home.
    – cdkMoose
    Apr 27, 2015 at 16:22
  • @cdkMoose Your company is asking you to travel somewhere other than your normal place of work. Do it in your own time by all means, but it isn't a commute. Apr 27, 2015 at 20:38

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