Well-being isn’t just a buzzword in the business travel industry; well-being is being talked about everywhere. I think it’s fair to say that people in all walks of life are becoming more aware of mindset and their well-being than ever before. Sure, in your business travel programme, you’ve probably considered employee safety for as long as you can remember, but how much thought have you given to your travellers’ happiness and well-being? And have you ever linked this to the performance of your business?
The December issue of The Business Travel Magazine’s cover feature was aptly titled “Why keeping your travellers content pays dividends”, and it really does. The article by Andy Hoskins explores the concept of Traveller Friction, a term coined by Scott Gillespie, an industry expert who helps organisations understand and mitigate the impact business travel has on its employees.
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.
Adverse impacts of business travel such as; 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.
Wayne Durkin, Head of Sales and Account Management, comes across this problem often, “Businesses sometimes give the best travel policies and the most perks to the most senior people in the company, yet the people who travel the most often get the short straw. A better travel class or a more luxury hotel are sometimes viewed as status symbols, rather than a way of making a busy traveller happier, healthier and more productive. My team work closely with their customers to help them strike the right balance.”
The best way to figure out how your travellers feel is to ask them. If the number of travellers in your organisation is manageable speak to them all, if there are too many, conduct a survey using a tool like SurveyMonkey which will help you analyse the results. This will give you invaluable insight into how your travellers perceive your business travel policy. Even better, if you have the data available, compare your travel data to business performance data to see if you can spot any trends that need addressing.
If you’re using a business travel agency, they should be able to help you monitor traveller friction as part of their account management programme. It might even be appropriate to include reducing traveller friction as a key performance indicator (KPI), so you can easily track improvements. Defining traveller friction as a KPI often helps you and your travel management company remain accountable to take action, thus ensuring continuous improvement.