Travel is a fundamental part of business operations for the majority. Meeting clients, visiting other locations, attending conferences and pitching ideas all over the world. While it may seem ‘glamorous’, business travel can slowly take its toll on your mental and physical health. According to a World Bank Study, 75% of staff experienced high or very high stress related to business travel. It requires long hours, jet lag and missing time with friends and family. It’s important to take practical steps towards wellbeing so that your staff can remain healthy during travel.
Contrary to popular belief, bumping yourself up to first-class won’t do much for your wellbeing. More legroom and a TV screen can help in the short term, but it’s important to look deeper into the travel process. Your planning, organisation and communication have a significant impact on traveller wellbeing. It’s not just the traveller’s responsibility, as an employer you should have procedures in place to ensure your team are comfortable. For the sake of mental and physical wellbeing, saving costs on early transport times and economy seats isn’t worth it.
By prioritising traveller wellbeing, you’ll reap the rewards of a motivated and supported workforce. Bex Deadman, Managing Director of Blue Cube Travel comments: “Practical changes to travel programmes to positively impact people’s lives are yet to become mainstream. Some larger corporates are leading the way with wellbeing programmes, but to date, most SMEs haven’t followed suit.”
Here are some important considerations you should make when drawing up a plan to improve business traveller wellbeing:
Communication with your employees is a top priority concerned with traveller wellbeing. It’s important to open up a dialogue with your travellers so you understand their welfare and requirements. Putting all travellers in the same box will be detrimental to people’s health. Some of your staff may feel anxious while flying or on busy trains while others don’t. Discussing these needs allows you to find seating and travel times that will prevent or ease the anxiety they experience.
Communication should be continued before and after travel. Check-in with your team during their trip to make sure the accommodation, transport and business activities are going to plan. Open communication will develop satisfied staff that feel supported and nurtured.
Each member of your team has different needs and there isn’t a one size fits all travel solution. Mental and physical health conditions differ from person to person so adopt flexibility when making travel arrangements. Some people prefer hotels with gyms and restaurants while others don’t need those amenities.
When returning from travel, be flexible with work demands. Particularly on long-haul travel, having to return to work the day after will reduce productivity and efficiency. Your staff will appreciate the time given to rest and recuperate. This will reduce stress levels and strike a positive work-life balance.
Understanding the numbers and data related to travel will help improve traveller wellbeing. It’ll enable you to make key decisions and prepare a detailed travel plan. By knowing travel times, time zones and business activities you can plan alternative options should disruptions occur. This will help to prevent sleep-deprivation and burnout.
If your team are travelling for big meetings and pitches, they’ll need to be well-rested and in good health. This will help them perform to full capacity and feel pleased with the outcome. Hours spent waiting at an airport or on the train can feel like a waste of time if you’re not using them for work. But encourage your workers to rest as much as possible so they feel alert and prepared for the day ahead.
The wellness policy that you put in place should focus on striking a positive work-life balance. Your team will feel rewarded and motivated if their needs are supported during times of business travel. You need to give people the chance to de-stress and unwind after a trip that has been mentally and physically demanding. This will help to reduce your staff turnover and maintain a strong workforce. Having these systems in place will benefit your business economically and culturally.
For more information and support, Blue Cube Travel can help you develop a traveller wellbeing plan for your business. Get in touch with us today.