Some people are of the opinion that business travel is ‘just part of the job’, it’s a requirement for the position just like any other. But when you start to look at the bigger picture, with business travel it’s just not that simple.
Those that don’t travel for work often have this perception that it’s glamorous, they may even be envious that their colleagues get to see the world when they have to work in the same office day in day out, but the impacts of business travel aren’t always easy to see.
This leads me to think about how business trips may impact on an individual's mental health?
From the unfortunate experience of being “bumped off” an overbooked flight to hotel fire alarms sounding in the middle of the night, or simply a cancelled/missed connection, (I’m getting cold sweats already thinking about it) business travel can be challenging at times. Team this with time away from home, missing important events, lack of exercise or just time and space to relax, can all cause stress and anxiety, and this can have a significant effect on somebody’s mindset, which can affect productivity massively.
Personally, I believe in today’s 24/7 digitally connected world, it is extremely important to take time for yourself every day to focus on one’s well-being, especially when travelling for business. Taking some “Bleisure time” away from the hustle and bustle of day to day business, by exploring and doing something you enjoy can be extremely beneficial for your well-being, or even a little physical activity could be the answer to a healthier mind, just be sure to mention to your business travel agent that you require a hotel with gym facilities.
Companies have a duty of care to their employees and should take all possible steps to ensure their health, safety and well-being. While showing care for the physical and mental health of your employees can help improve staff retention, employee engagement and boost productivity, legally, employers must adhere to health & safety and employment law, in addition to the common law duty of care. They also have a moral obligation not to cause, or fail to prevent physical or psychological injury. An employer may breach their duty of care by not doing everything reasonably possible to keep the employee safe from harm.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) state that advises that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. It is therefore important that employers and their staff take steps to promote positive mental health whilst supporting those experiencing mental ill health.
This is one of the reasons why its extremely important to not issue a blanket travel policy focused on controlling corporate travel spend, but become involved with matters such as traveller well-being, duty of care and employee benefits. Communication is key, meaning various departments including HR, Finance and Management may all have a stake in how the travel policy is put together, making for a defining a set of guidelines everyone is happy with.
Talk to your travel management company to discuss how they can help you put in place a traveller safety and risk programme that will help you not only comply with regulations but ensure your employees are fully protected when they travel on behalf of your business.
At Good Travel Management, we regularly help our clients build their traveller safety programmes including the implementation of our tracking technology, providing traveller safety training and supporting the building of crisis management processes. If you are not working with a travel management company and have a number of travelling employees then this is a great reason to get one on board!
REMEMBER: It’s OK to talk – If you are feeling like your Mental Health is waning its always good to talk. From talking to friends and family or reaching for a free support service such as the Samaritans who provide confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)