For many professionals, business travel is a way of life. Yet, constantly being on-the-go can be difficult, especially when days are spent on an airplane, in a cab, or away from home. These changes can take a toll on travellers’ professional and personal lives, leading to unhappy and unwell travellers. In fact, some studies have actually reported a link between business travel and the impact it can have on mental health, which negatively effects both your employees’ overall welfare and your bottom line.
That being said, companies with robust travel programs that prioritize the health and well-being of their road warriors produce a better traveller experience, retain employees, and see an increase in company value and investments. Therefore, it is in the best interest of employers to watch out for burnout and offer solutions to frequent business travellers.
How does frequent travel affect health and wellness?
To understand the effects of burnout and traveller friction, companies must first recognize the issue. Traveller friction is the negative impact frequent travel has on business travellers as well as the lack of tools in place to help satisfy their well-being. As a matter of fact, it’s been verified that individuals who travel frequently for business not only have the lowest self-rated health, but also worse depression and anxiety symptoms. But how does frequent travel lead to such outcomes? A hectic itinerary, shortened weekends, time zone shifts, or transportation problems can affect mood or compound stress, impacting self-reported physical and mental health.
What can companies do to promote traveller well-being?
The very first thing organizations can do is recognize their moral and legal obligations to keep travellers safe and healthy. Taking steps to establish a travel policy that addresses these points are fundamental to prioritizing and protecting the health and wellness of travellers.
Here are some ways companies can address health and wellness in their corporate travel programs.
1. Allowing scheduled off-days
Bleisure – a combination of business and leisure – has gained increasing relevance in today’s corporate environment. It allows employees to extend their travel and experience global city attractions, or even travel back at an off-peak time. This typically has fewer costs than one might assume as the flights are already booked, and it can improve traveller satisfaction, giving them a day to decompress and enjoy their destination.
2. Approving remote working after long-haul flights
Sitting on a plane for eight or more hours can be uncomfortable no matter which class a traveller is sitting in, or how often they've flown. Not to mention, most business travellers journey through different time-zones, leaving them jet lagged. As a result, the last thing a traveller might want to do after flying across an ocean is get up and go into the office the next day. But that doesn't mean they can't put in a workday. Allowing work-from-home or other flexible, remote working policies after long-haul flights can help travellers catch up on sleep, acclimate to their time zone, as well as reduce stress.
3. Offering a streamlined booking workflow
Frequent travellers are perpetually on their way to the next destination. The functional booking of travel can become overwhelming, which in itself can become frustrating or lead to noncompliance. A way to get in front of this issue is by having a streamlined travel booking solution or service. Easier booking and reservations mean a smoother experience and happier employees who can then devote their time and effort to other more meaningful tasks, or their own personal care. Additionally, travel managers can also encourage travellers to provide regular feedback to help pinpoint causes behind non-compliance and identify areas in need of improvement.
4. Balancing cost and convenience in policy
Ideally, the travel policy you institute would regulate booking in such a way that the lowest costs are achieved while also delivering a positive experience to your travellers. It is important to note that sometimes this can be difficult to accomplish. For example, if lodging choices are far away from a convention center, the more economical accommodation may actually lead to increased transportation costs and frustration for your travellers as they factor in additional time for traffic, logistics, and so on. Balancing cost and convenience can often mean allowing some more expensive hotels closer to an event space and allowing employees to walk or take shorter ground transpotation options. Or, a traveller may prefer a hotel with gym amenities that is slightly more costly. Balancing these expectations and desires in the policy is delicate, but it can generate morale and productivity advantages.
More Resources for Your Travel Program
It can be difficult to integrate health and wellness into a travel program alone. A travel management company (TMC) can help provide the solutions, expertise, and personalised services that you need to help support sound bodies and minds in your most frequent business travellers. To learn more about how you can integrate health and wellness into your travel program, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.