Travellers may not be forthcoming about their personal needs while on a work trip.
When your travellers pack their bags for a trip, they’re focused on delivering a great presentation or developing new contacts at a conference. However, travellers are also balancing something else that they rarely discuss with their managers: their own well-being while on the road.
Recent research by Uber’s internal user experience research (UXR) team discovered that travellers not only acknowledge the need to maintain their regular healthy habits while on the road—whether that’s squeezing in a morning workout or eating a nutritious dinner—but also tend to deprioritise those needs in favour of getting the job done.
How can a travel manager ensure that these personal needs are met while achieving the ideal business outcome? In this blog post, we’ll discuss why prioritising traveller well-being is good for your organisation as a whole, and we’ll offer some basic tips that can be built right into the company travel and expense (T&E) policy.
Why traveller well-being has a company-wide impact
There’s a well-documented connection between employee health and travel. A recent Harvard Business Review investigation discovered that travelling for work can have a negative impact on health, with frequent travel contributing to a number of chronic conditions such as sleeping problems and anxiety. That’s not to mention time zone adjustments, catching a cough on the plane, experiencing fluctuating weather patterns or any number of uncontrollable factors that can affect a traveller’s health.
Good performance and personal well-being are tightly intertwined, with the latter directly affecting a traveller’s decision-making process. In fact, 44% of those surveyed by the UXR team shared that stress-free travel is a priority for them. That’s because travellers know that they don’t perform at their best when feeling off their game.
Yet travellers hesitate to say that their personal well-being is a priority, the UXR team found. Instead, travellers framed their concerns in terms of impact on performance. If traveller well-being has such an impact on the end result of a work trip, it’s important, then, that travel managers incorporate best practices that can help travellers preserve their health while travelling.
4 steps you can take to improve traveller well-being
While it’s not possible to predict every bump in the road, travel managers can make changes directly to the T&E policy that are designed to improve traveller well-being.
- Allow for ample travel time. A day trip may sound efficient from the company’s perspective, but cramming so much activity into a single day can wear travellers ragged. When possible, allow them to go the day before and come home the morning after. This way, travellers have breathing room in their schedules, with ample time for good nutrition and rest.
- Plan for traveller efficiency first and foremost. Transferring flights or relying on public transportation in a new city can increase the possibility that a traveller arrives late or misses the purpose of the trip altogether. Planning for frictionless ways to get from point A to point B minimises opportunities for a trip to go awry.
- Use familiar brands and tools. It may seem unnecessary to know which airlines give away good snacks or which hotels provide coffee makers, but knowing these details can go a long way. Returning to tried-and-true brands skips the learning curve and helps travellers better prepare for what to expect, simplifying the travel process and alleviating some stressors.
- Enable employees to take bleisure time. The thought of going to a new place can certainly be exciting for a traveller. Allowing flexibility to explore gives travellers something to look forward to once work is done, helping to maintain positivity even when faced with stressful factors out of their control.
Traveller well-being and work performance aren’t just connected, they depend on each other. Travellers who feel run-down, stressed, tired or hungry can find themselves losing focus, which distracts from their business goals. Work performance isn’t just about showing up, after all—it’s about showing up alert, attentive and ready to excel at the task at hand.
To learn more about what’s going on inside the mind of a business traveller, download our research report.