There is a beautiful misconception around corporate travel... construed by images of relaxed travellers sipping extraordinary wines in Business and First, or soaking in the spa bath of their plush hotel room. Yet these images fail to capture the stress often caused by delayed flights, limited wi-fi or substandard rooms. How can this stress be managed to maintain traveller productivity?
With a growing global focus on employee well-being over recent years, the impacts of business travel on staff and their productivity have come under closer scrutiny.
While companies continue to prioritise the overall cost efficiency of their travel budget, the focus is shifting more to their travellers and how they are impacted while on the move. Employers are increasingly recognising that business travel can take its toll, with more companies adopting strategies and tools to help improve the traveller experience.
The majority of corporate travellers feel some degree of stress on each trip. Whether young jetsetters unfazed by change, or road warriors with years of business travel under their belts, travellers can be negatively affected by a myriad of elements.
Triggers of travel stress
A recent Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study of corporate travellers across 10 European Countries revealed security, safety and health are prime concerns. Key findings included the following:
- 76% said it was important to feel their employers took their safety and security seriously
- 65% felt maintaining a healthy diet while travelling was a key concern
- 46% put a priority on maintaining their exercise routines
While 85% of respondents said they enjoyed business travel, stress levels rose when their trips were fraught with problems including delays, long layovers and travel outside regular business hours.
When business travellers arrive at their destination, the last thing they want to face is issues on the ground. They view their hotel accommodation as the place where they can refresh and revitalise, however accommodation can create its own types of frustration.
Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has also identified the following factors as common sources of accommodation stress for travellers:
- High cost internet connection
- Standard rooms with limited facilities
- Noisy rooms and locations
- No late checkout availability
- The cost of dining within the hotel
- Cost of car parking and valet parking
Impacts on productivity
It’s a well documented fact that the higher the stress levels of travellers, the lower their productivity can be. No connectivity, queues waiting at airports, and incorrect hotel bookings can create ‘downtime’ that is near impossible for employees to use productively.= “Traveller stress creates hidden costs on top of the hard cost of business travel.”
The impacts of traveller stress are difficult to measure in dollar terms, but when factoring in the average hourly rate of employee time, it is clear that the cost of lost productivity is significant.
Travelling smarter to reduce stress
As every corporate journey can be affected by elements outside the traveller’s control, it is impossible to eliminate stress. Companies can however, reduce the impacts on productivity by helping to make work trips more comfortable. FCTG believes the solution is to focus on traveller needs and comfort as much as cost-saving policies. Employees don’t necessarily need to travel less – they can often travel smarter.