We all know that it’s difficult to stick to the good lifestyle habits that you may have at home when you take a business trip. Your menu options are restricted to what’s on the hotel restaurant or room service menu, you forget to take your trainers, you are away from your friends and family and, even if you have avoided jet lag, it’s not always easy to sleep in an unfamiliar place.
If you travel infrequently then breaking good habits isn’t such a problem, but take a moment to think about how these scenarios affect your organisation’s most frequent travellers’ physical and mental wellbeing.
In our recent survey, 70% of our clients’ Travel Managers cited safety and wellbeing as a key area that they needed to address. And whilst, most of their employers have wellbeing initiatives in place within their offices for their office based staff, a massive 95% of their travel policies do not consider traveller wellbeing.
So, if like many others, it’s time for you to redesign your travel policy to take better care of your travellers, here are our tips and recommendations…
Whilst to the uninitiated business travel may seem fun, in reality it is tough. Last minute requests to travel to a meeting, flight delays, lost luggage, missed flights and late hotel check ins at properties outside of town are highly stressful. This stress can be minimised by using a travel management company – one that will book and manage all aspects of a business trip with reputable and reliable suppliers for car hire, taxi’s and car parking through to flights, trains and accommodation.
Tip – make sure your travel management companies covers all components on a trip so if something does go wrong, it’s all managed through one supplier. Check that your TMC provides an emergency 24/7 out of hours’ service to assist immediately, whatever time of day or night.
The world is increasingly volatile so it’s vital that your travel policy assesses the need to travel to unsafe locations. Working with a travel management company that offers a traveller tracking solution will ensure that your duty of care obligations to business travellers are met. Inntel’s iCare tool provides authorised users within a client organisation with immediate access to identify the whereabouts of their travellers in emergency situations. The Inntel team manage clients’ disaster recovery plans, swinging into action when needed to contact, manage and bring affected employees to safety. And we also integrate with sophisticated risk management solutions to ensure travellers going to risk destinations are fully briefed prior to travel.
Tip – check that your travel management company offers traveller tracking and risk management solutions.
Whilst a comfy bed is a key selling point for most hotels, it’s still common for business travellers to have interrupted or less sleep. Jet lag, travel time, lack of exercise, poor diet and alcohol and longer working days all affect sleep patterns. There is plenty of advice online to help with time zone adjustments but it’s not feasible to try and sleep instead of attending an important meeting. This problem can be helped with consideration given to airline cabin classes and looking at flight arrival times in line with meeting start times.
Tip – Allow plenty of time for travellers to adjust to different time zones and time to get fresh air and exercise between appointments.
Food and exercise
Business travel is tiring, meetings are sometimes exhausting and it’s all too easy to opt for unhealthy comfort food from the hotel room service. But this takes its’ toll and certainly doesn’t help with a traveller’s wellbeing. Encourage your travellers to take some exercise – offer them a hotel with a gym or pool and check out the menus for health options beforehand. Make sure that there is time in their schedule to fit in exercise every day. This will have a positive effect on their productivity and their mental health.
Tip – Research your hotels and remind travellers to take their trainers.
At the end of the (long) day, the reason that your business travellers are away from home is to achieve success for your organisation. The very best way to make sure this happens is to make sure their wellbeing is top of the agenda, resulting in productive and successful trips.