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5 ways to ensure your travel programme is stress-free for your travellers

Oct 26, 2015

Long gone is the misconception that corporate travel is a first-class, champagne-sipping, spa-treatment in the penthouse of a New York hotel. The reality is that travelling for business can be an incredibly stressful experience. Prior to leaving, one has to navigate a labyrinth of preparation, packing, motorway traffic, flight delay and convenience food, and upon arriving there’s the plethora of potential issues to tackle; from painfully slow hotel Wi-Fi, all the way to jetlag. And just to ensure that stress levels are truly at their highest, there might even be Biblical weather, cancelled meetings, substandard meals at a local restaurant and expenses claims to remember… not quite the fine-dining, chauffeured limo experience that one imagined.

In fact, according to a recent article published in the Corporate Travel Guide, high stress levels and irregular lifestyle patterns caused from travelling can have long-term, damaging effects on a person’s wellbeing; with high cholesterol, IBS, muscle pains (particularly lower back) and deregulated sugar levels leading to type 2 diabetes. Any one of these stress-triggered elements will decrease the productivity and efficiency of your corporate traveller.

So as a manager, how do you ensure that you are minimalizing the level of stress travelling causes to your on-the-go employees?

1. Review your travel policy to ensure it covers all the small stress-triggers for your employees. This can range from room facilities to making sure there is adequate Wi-Fi access in their accommodation. Arranging for your company to have one or two mobile Wi-Fi devices available that could be given to a traveller to use whilst they’re away is an inexpensive means of overcoming a common stress-trigger.

2. Take into account the cost of food and dining in the location of your traveller is important when it comes to assessing the expense allowance. In central London, a healthy, energising meal that will provide your employee with sufficient nutrients and maintain their productivity will cost significantly more than any other city in the UK. It is vital for long-term health and wellbeing that travellers eat well whilst on the go, as convenience food such as coffee and croissants will deregulate sugar levels and leave the traveller feeling lethargic and drained. This pattern of eating behaviour can lead to serious illnesses and have damaging effects on your employees’ health.

3. Listening to the complaints of your travellers is the most effective method of alleviating stress. It’s often the little things in a journey that can affect the productivity of a traveller, and more often than not, the little things are the easiest to overcome. A simple survey or focus session for your regular travellers is a great way to open the lines of communication and agree mutually on ways to overcome travelling burdens.

4. Compliancy to policy is a real gripe amongst travellers, especially when it’s increasingly obvious that some employees receive preferential treatment when it comes to accommodation or fare classes It will boost the productivity of your travellers to keep things consistent for all your travellers. Communicate with your travellers to ensure they are fully aware of any travel disruption or weather warnings that could affect their ability to return home as planned.

5. Ensure there is time to unwind after a trip before starting the new working day. It’s important to remember that the effects of travelling can often last for a few days, or even a few weeks in some cases, and this needs to be accounted for. If your employee is returning from an international flight at 11pm at night, it is often counter-productive to ask them to be in work for 8am the next day.

Whilst travelling for business is incredibly important for revenue, training and opportunity, it needn’t be such a burden. It may be worth assessing your health and wellbeing programme or policy to ensure you are accommodating for the stresses of corporate travel.