A recent corporate wellness program study found that frequent business travel (e.g., two weeks or more a 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 program. 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 longtail 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 that 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 program and policies in place are traveler-centric. If you're overseeing a corporate travel program 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 travelers can share advice. We asked employees at Egencia how they stay healthy on the road and collected the best hacks in this blog.
Step 2: Make your travel policies appealing and transparent
Bleisure remains a sought-after aspect of corporate travel programs and the Egencia 2018 Bleisure Trends study showed that more business travelers 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. 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 program leakage by keeping travelers within your preferred suppliers and on your booking tool.
- Weekend stays, particularly for international travel, give workers time to rest and acclimate 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 traveler more rested, productive, and happy — providing the perfect balance of traveler 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 travelers 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 travelers
Giving perks to business travelers 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 travelers much more pleasant. For example, the Egencia Advantage program 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 programs. The latest addition to the program includes global Wi-Fi, which allows travelers to get work done and connect with family and friends at home whenever and wherever they are.
Step 4: Make it easy for travelers to find information about the program and policies
An easy accessible travel database, e.g., on a company’s intranet, can help travelers make the most of their time on the road by removing ambiguity. By centralizing information, you can display your travel policies, include tips from the traveling community, and broadcast the latest policy or travel alerts. Here are a few examples we've seen from clients:
- Provide alerts on advance booking like limited hotel availability or city-wide sellouts to avoid headaches for business travelers. As a starting point, read our calendar which gives an overview of global events that can take over a city.
- Consider creating city guides for the most frequently traveled 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 travelers about safety during travel. You might 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 for those en route during an emergency. Together with your travel management company, you can minimize discomfort and stress by making sure travelers 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 travelers, contact us today.