Business travel: Well-being below the radar

SINGAPORE, 18 December 2019: This may come as a surprise to employees who notch up miles on corporate travel, but travel managers are not expected by their organisations to look into traveller well-being, a recent Amadeus report points out.

The survey of travel managers working for medium to large companies worldwide showed 44% had no duty of care responsibilities. Additionally, only 26% claimed to have received instructions from their organisations to introduce programmes or develop strategies to reduce travel-related stress.

The cause for concern arises in light of recent, major studies undertaken that have shown a strong link between the frequency of business travel and a wide range of physical and behavioural health risks.

With an ever-growing number of countries demanding that employers have a legal and ethical duty of care to their employees, companies can ill afford to overlook the well-being of their employees on business travel.

This is not to say that corporations are not thinking about traveller well-being. In fact, 75% of travel managers said that their companies pay some or even significant attention to traveller well-being. But good intentions are not translating into concrete actions.

The survey showed that 39% said that their organisations take active steps towards improving traveller well-being, exactly the same number say no steps are being taken and the balance – 22% – are unsure.

What this shows is a potential internal disconnect within the organisation due to a lack of inter-departmental coordination. Traveller well-being, after all, is a multi-department responsibility that goes way beyond the roles of procurement or travel. It needs to be addressed by HR and Risk Management in addition. In large complex organisations, where there are many layers of approval, you can see how it would be difficult for procurement or travel departments to take the lead on this.

 Of course, the investment in implementing strategies to combat travel-induced stress combined with the lack of tools to measure ROI for smarter travel policies may also deter some companies. Last but not least is the role of employees, those actually travelling, to create the awareness which can be acted upon, towards the risks and impact business travel has on the individual. 

How many times in a recruitment process has the question been asked on travel policy? Without a doubt, it has an impact on productivity, recruitment, retention and not only bottom line.

In the backdrop of increased spend on business travel, the impending need is for companies to make traveller well-being a priority. With 91% of travel managers acknowledging the high levels of stress when employees travel for work, more than half (57%) stated that they do suggest changes to their company to help improve traveller well-being and more often than not, companies do accept and implement these suggestions. This shows that there is a definite inclination towards improving traveller well-being. Such efforts need to be tackled more proactively and efficiently by an entire organisation, support from the top to result in healthier, company-wide travel policies.

For more details, download a copy of the whitepaper – Business traveller well-being: How to keep your employees healthy, happy and productive when they travel for work.

Follow this link to download the full report