Business travel specialists Egencia have come up with four steps to help frequent travellers stay healthy and reduce stress.
A recent study has found that frequent business travel – one to two weeks or more a month – leads to an increase in body mass, cholesterol levels and blood pressure among employees.
Sometimes referred to as ‘friction’, this wear and tear on road warriors is not a new concept. Business travellers have complained for decades about the impact of travel on stress levels, sleep deprivation and poor diet or exercise, which can all lead to a fall in productivity.
There is a positive side, however, according to business travel researchers at Egencia, as many in the trade as well as scientists are starting to offer advice.
In the US, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information has found that the way frequent travellers think about stress can affect their health, adding that a “subtle mind shift in our association between stress and health can have a positive impact”.
Along these lines, Egencia offers four steps to managers overseeing a corporate travel programme.
One step is to build communities and share advice. “No one knows how to cope with being a road warrior better than – you guessed it – a road warrior. Set up a Facebook group […] so your travellers can share advice”, Egencia suggests.
Step two could be to “make your travel policies appealing and transparent”. Bleisure remains a sought-after aspect of corporate travel programmes and a recent study shows that more business travellers are adding on personal days.
Weekend stays, particularly for international travel, give workers time to rest and acclimatise before starting the working week abroad, the study says, while Saturday travel for international flights can be cheaper.
Perks on the road
A third step is to consider additional amenities or perks for travellers, which can improve satisfaction on the road for greater efficiency and productivity.
“Think about offering benefits like access to airport lounges – this makes unexpected waiting time for your travellers much more pleasant,” Egencia suggests.
Fourthly, it is suggested for managers to make it easy for travellers to find information about the travel programme and policies. An easily accessible travel database, for example on a company’s intranet, can help them make the most of their time on the road by removing ambiguity.
By centralizing information, a company can display its travel policies, include tips from the travelling community and broadcast the latest policy or travel alerts, Egencia concludes.