A recent study found that, frequent business travel (i.e. two weeks or more per month) has led to an increase in body mass index, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure and rates of obesity among employees in one corporate wellness programme. Often referred to as "friction", this wear and tear on road warriors isn't a new concept. Others have spoken about the impact on stress levels, sleep deprivation and poor diet or exercise. The long-tail impact can also lead to a decrease in productivity and retention. But let’s take a deep breath here. There is a positive side. With more light shed on this topic over the past couple of years, many are offering advice. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, found the way we think about stress can affect our health. A subtle mind shift in our association between stress and health can have a positive impact. Studies like these, also remind us to check if the programme and policies in place are traveller-centric. If you're overseeing a corporate travel programme, and wondering where to begin, start with these four steps.
Step 1: 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, or Slack Channel, so your travellers can share advice. We asked employees at Egencia how they stay healthy on the road and collected the best hacks in this blog article.
Step 2: Make your travel policies appealing and transparent
Bleisure, remains a sought after aspect of corporate travel programmes, and Egencia 2018 Bleisure Trends study showed that more business travellers are adding on personal days when they travel for work with 68 percent taking at least one bleisure trip per year. The study also showed that when it comes to bleisure trips, the boss’ opinion matters. So, if you see a demand in your company – make bleisure part of your travel policies. Additional benefits of a clear policy include:
- Lowering the risk of programme leakage by keeping travellers within your preferred suppliers and on your booking tool.
- Weekend stays, particularly for international travel, give workers time to rest and adjust before starting the work week abroad.
- Saturday travel for international flights can decrease the price of a plane ticket. When one factors in the cost of an extra hotel night, you come out cost-neutral. This can leave the traveller more rested, productive, and happy – providing the perfect balance of traveller satisfaction and cost savings.
Other opportunities for clarity are compensation – both time and money. The Egencia 4th Business Travel and Technology study found that some travellers want time compensation for business trips on weekends. Do you have clear guidance in place with HR and managers about comp time?
Step 3: Consider additional amenities or perks for your travellers
Giving perks to business travellers 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. For example, the Egencia Advantage programme provides our clients with the opportunity to roll out such perks that improve satisfaction on the road for greater efficiency and productivity, while giving companies the means to improve their travel programmes. The latest addition to the programme includes global Wi-Fi – allowing travellers to get work done and connect with family and friends at home whenever, wherever they are.
Step 4: Make it easy for travellers to find information about the programme and policies
An easy accessible travel database, e.g. at a company’s intranet, can help travellers make the most out of their time on the road by removing ambiguity. By centralising the information, you can display your travel policies, include tips from the travelling community, and broadcast the latest policy or travel alerts. Here are a few we see from clients:
- Provide alerts on advance booking like limited hotel availability or city-wide sell-outs to avoid headaches for business travellers. As a starting point, read our calendar which gives an overview of the events globally that can take over a full city.
- Consider creating city guides for the most frequently travelled destinations. Include employee recommendations on how to get around and which restaurants, bars and attractions to visit.
- Ask if your travel management company can display which lodging options are frequently booked by co-workers within the search for quick decision-making and confidence among employees.
This also provides a central place to inform your travellers about safety during travel. You may not be able to prevent travel disruptions, but you can control having a clear policy in place and a partner travel management company to aid in real-time updates on itineraries of those en route during an emergency. Together with your travel management company, you can minimise discomfort and stress by making sure travellers have the information they need before, during and after an incident. If you want to learn more about how Egencia can reduce stress for you and your business travellers, contact us today.