Connect with Arlene Coyle
Arlene is Amadeus Travel Solutions' Senior Vice President Commercial for Corporations & Travel Channels. Connect with her:
outside, travelling for work can seem like a glamourous offer. Who doesn’t love
exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures? An Amadeus
survey of travel managers from medium to large companies across the globe,
and 900 business travellers found that 75% of respondents enjoy travelling for
business most, if not all, the time. This may seem like a high number, but
frequent flyers know too well that business travel can often become a chore—flip
that statistic on its head, and you can conclude that one in four of those we
spoke to aren’t enjoying the experience. The novelty and benefits of going
abroad for work can quickly fade in the face of long layovers, jet lag, time
away from your normal routine and family, and piles of expense receipts to
process when you get home.
such pressures, it is no surprise that there is a strong link between the
frequency of business travel and a wide range of physical and behavioural
health risks. The survey also found that employees who spend 14 nights or more
per month away from home may have significantly higher BMI (body mass index)
scores and are more likely to report poor self-rated health, symptoms of
anxiety, depression, smoking or no physical activity. With the popularity and
expectation of travelling for work on the rise, companies would be wise to look
after the well-being of their employees while traveling for work.
not to say that companies aren’t already prioritising their employees’ health.
The study also found that 75% of travel managers said that their companies pay
some or significant attention to traveller well-being. Despite these good
intentions, is this being translated into effective action?
Not always, according to the research, which found that 39% of
organisations aren’t taking any steps to improve traveller well-being and that
nearly half of travel managers surveyed (44%) have no duty of care responsibilities at
More Companies Acting to Improve Well-being?
possible suggestion is a potential internal disconnect within the company.
Traveller well-being is a shared responsibility, managed by HR and risk management
personnel, along with travel managers. In larger companies, with no one owning
this area and many layers of approval, it remains difficult for individual
travel managers to take the lead, meaning that often things can fall through
the tracks, with no one taking ownership.
also be the case that there is simply a lack of awareness or understanding among
senior management towards the risks of frequent business travel and its
eventual impact on productivity and overall happiness. With so many deadlines,
meetings and priorities, it is understandable why this is not at the top of
everyone’s list; however, employee well-being must always be at the forefront
of organisations’ minds – whether the employee is travelling for work or not.
there is awareness of the benefits of better travel policies, some companies
may worry that improving traveller well-being will come at a heavy cost. To
overcome this concern, travel managers must consider the hidden costs in terms
of reduced productivity, recruitment and illness problems. When measured in
this way, it is clear to see that the cost of implementing is far less than the
cost of unhappy, stressed-out workers.
business travel spend on the rise, and with no signs of slowing down, now more
than ever we need to pay attention to this issue. Of the 91% of travel managers
who acknowledged the high levels of stress when employees travel for work, more
than half (57%) stated that they do champion changes in traveller well-being,
and when they do, their companies’ value and implement these suggestions. This
insight shows that companies rightly prioritise and recognise the need for
robust policies, and these efforts need to be more proactively and efficiently
driven by top management to lead to real change.
well-being are becoming more and more a hot topic. In an increasingly
competitive marketplace, a thoughtful travel well-being strategy could help
corporations retain talent. This is particularly true for millennials, who
prioritise health and well-being more than their older counterparts. According
to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), travel policy
satisfaction is increasingly playing a role in corporations’ talent acquisition
and retention agendas.
news is that there are several opportunities for companies to positively affect
well-being to increase productivity, reduce stress and keep the best and
brightest talent. By improving your organisation’s remit to implement policies
which consider aspects such as flight times, longer-working hours and clear
trip objectives, travel managers can take positive steps towards creating a
more encouraging environment when it comes to travelling for work.
also important to remember that employees have a voice too. No one knows travel
better than your most frequent flyers, so when talking about traveller
well-being, who better to ask? By speaking with your employees and asking them
what they would appreciate most to contribute towards their well-being, your
policy is more likely to meet their needs and improve their health and
for business is inherently good for a company and its employees—some of the
best relationships and deals are forged this way. In fact, business travel
allows businesses to grow, and the world to become an even more connected
network. Ultimately, there are huge opportunities for companies to improve
their well-being strategies, which will lead not only to happier employees, but
greater performance across the companies themselves. So, what are we waiting