Are your travelers asking to extend work trips for a little R&R—and is your travel policy ready to accommodate this modern traveler request?
Work trip extensions are becoming more commonplace in the work environment, with more than 2.2 million such trips1 taken from 2016 to 2017. Dubbed bleisure, these kinds of trips may even be the preferred way for travelers to take time off, as fewer employees make full use of all their personal time.2 The trend gives travelers a chance to squeeze in downtime before returning to the office without cutting into pressing work deadlines.
In this blog post, we explore why it’s so important for travel managers to formalize bleisure policies, in order to properly maintain frictionless, easy-to-follow travel procedures. Not addressing bleisure can lead to deviation from your policy, affecting reimbursements, bookings, and more.
Affirming your commitment to travelers who request bleisure time
Work trip extensions open up a world of possibilities for travelers, but they can also create liability issues for companies and confusion for employees. As you weigh bleisure’s role in your travel policy, it’s important to reaffirm your role as a resource for travelers who want to take advantage of some time off the clock.
While evaluating your travel policy for bleisure, keep in mind these 3 sensitive points:
- Clarify the difference between company and personal travel. Without a formal bleisure policy in place, travelers could forget to separate, or even try and include, personal expenses such as an extended hotel stay when they submit their reimbursement requests. Definitive guidelines help travelers properly delineate between the 2 trip types.
- Determine when travel managers still have a say. Although your traveler is technically off the clock while taking bleisure time, the primary purpose of the trip is still for work. Should a traveler continue to contact the travel manager while they’re on bleisure time? If yes, when? Some travel managers, for example, may want to know about changes in itinerary right away. Defining these parameters helps solidify the travel manager’s role as a resource without overburdening travelers during their downtime.
- Ensure compliance. Most importantly, a happy traveler is a compliant traveler! By making room for bleisure in the policy, you demonstrate that you’ve listened to your travelers and responded to their requests by addressing their wants and needs.
3 questions to help you draw an ever-blurring line
Work trip extensions should be as frictionless as possible for you and your travelers. Preparing travelers with clear guidelines and how-tos will prevent some difficult conversations and disappointments when they return from their trip.
Consider these 3 questions while incorporating bleisure into your travel policy:
- Is bleisure always allowed? Your company may choose to limit work trip extensions to weekends or legal holidays. Define when work trip extensions are allowed, even if the answer is “always.”
- Is preapproval required? Define who to notify and how to notify them. It could be as simple as an email or a note in an expense management program such as Concur.
- How should travelers sort their expenses? Look into introducing traveler tools, such as the Uber for Business app, that make it easy for travelers to separate work-related and personal expenditures.
The last thing you need as a travel manager is to have a leisure hotel stay or ride accidentally billed to the company. We suggest staying one step ahead by making your travel policy easily accessible through online and offline copies, FAQ, and even office hours to answer questions.
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Your company’s approach to travel is redefined when business and leisure collide. This new bleisure phenomenon is here to stay, and even to those travel managers unacquainted with it, bleisure must be addressed correctly. Uber for Business’s travel policy guidelines are a great way to understand this new traveler reality.
Not properly addressing bleisure in your policy could lead to traveler confusion, including unapproved trips, incomplete expense reports, or non-work-related reimbursement requests getting past your desk. Get ahead by reaffirming your responsibility to travelers and producing clear guidelines on how to handle work trip extension requests. The result? Smooth sailing, as your travelers embark on some well-deserved R&R.
1 October 24, 2018. Do You Bleisure? The Word We Love to Hate is Gaining Popularity Across the Globe. Concur. https://www.concur.com/newsroom/article/bleisure-gaining-popularity-across-globe
2May 24, 2017. Glassdoor Survey Finds Americans Forfeit Half Of Their Earned Vacation/Paid Time Off. Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.com/about-us/glassdoor-survey-finds-americans-forfeit-earned-vacationpaid-time/