Business travel can be stressful. One of the ways we monitor the travel worries of employees is through regular surveys about their views of business travel.
In a recent survey, we identified over 100 points of potential anxiety for travellers, which ranged from planning a trip, not knowing the location well, delays, cancelations, language and culture to home-related stresses including childcare, pet cover and personal social commitments. The challenge we have is to try and minimise the impact of these sources of stress for travellers.
To achieve a less stressful travel experience, we encourage travellers to embrace ‘Smarter working’ – our unique approach to booking and travelling.
Matthew Holman, Head of Traveller Wellbeing at Capita Travel and Events, shares his top five tips to dealing with business travel stress:
1) Book Smarter
Changes to the way we plan travel and book, such as advance booking as well as integrated itinerary information, a traveller can prepare mentally for it. When changes happen during the trip, travellers benefit from our support and our technology, which has been developed to provide relevant and timely communications to help them. After the trip, we encourage the traveller to take time to recover and prepare for their next activities.
2) Sleep is key
When travellers fly long-haul, their circadian rhythm is disrupted. On average, it takes one day for each one-hour time zone change to reset your circadian rhythm to its home settings. We encourage travellers to sleep well and avoid stimulants, such as caffeine after lunch or alcohol in the evening.
3) Educate on coping strategies?
One of the best coping strategies I recommend for travellers is to practice mindfulness and breathing exercises. When travelling, try to stay connected with home and your normal routines. If you use the gym at home, make sure to pack your kit so you use the gym when travelling.
4) Understanding of individuals’ needs
Managers need to seek deeper and more-connected relationships with their employees. They should focus on understanding what the challenges are for the individuals and, where they see something that they are worried about, they should be open to having a discussion to understand the employee’s issues. The best leaders are the ones who show their employees empathy and compassion. Simple steps, such as making sure travellers are fit to travel before their trip, making sure the traveller has downtime when they travel and are allowed the time to recover make a difference.
5) Not travel
It may sound obvious, but travellers should really question whether they need to travel in the first instance. Is the trip necessary and how can it be as efficient and effective as possible? Is there an alternative to being their physically? Employees should look attending meetings via video call or conference call.
We have hosted numerous ‘Smarter working’ workshops with customers and our own travellers, as well as steering groups with suppliers so we can enhance the overall traveller experience and continue to improve traveller wellbeing. If you are interested in finding out more about Smarter working and how we can help your organisation, please reach out firstname.lastname@example.org.