July 22, 2024

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Employee Wellness Is a Growing Priority in Business Travel

2 min read

Skift Take

Employee wellness had often been an afterthought prior to the pandemic, but more companies are devoting resources to prevent staff from burnout during their work trips.

Business travel has always been unhealthy. If you were into wellness, business travel coordinators might identify local healthy restaurants and hotels with gyms. 

Covid changed that.  

“The wellness concept was flipped on its head by Covid,” said Josh Gunn, head of product marketing for Corporate Travel Management.

“It was less about people getting more out of their trip and more about stopping them getting ill. What we’re doing now is much more focused on the people who are at risk of burnout.”

As a result, the business travel management company has taken a more personalized approach to looking after each individual traveler. It has set up a score system for clients to measure both the amount of travel and how rough an itinerary is, with the idea being to better track the potential health impact. 

This can take into account early starts, red-eye flights, last-minute trips, and long-haul itineraries — all of which can stress a business traveler’s body and mind. CTM staff can make alternative suggestions for a trip, such as adding a hotel stay the night before an early meeting.

“We can put this into the hands of line managers and heads of departments, so they have a better understanding of how much their people are traveling,” Gunn said. 

All-Encompassing Care

Global Travel Collection Vice President Francesca Mendola said the company has focused on adopting a more holistic approach to encourage business travelers to keep healthy habits on the road.

It has previously arranged for yoga mats and Peloton bikes to be delivered to a client’s room, so they can maintain their fitness regimens on the road. The company would like to see more partnerships with local gyms allowing travelers to join classes while away.

GTC staff have even arranged to have some clients’ favorite scent in their room when they arrive. Meanwhile, clients are increasingly incorporating leisure travel with their families into their business trips.

“Providing business travelers with elements of calm or a sense of a home away from home when they return to their room after a long day of traveling keeps them recharged throughout their trip and less disrupted,” Mendola said. 

Business Travel Association Chief Executive Clive Wratten welcomed the focus on wellness but warned the industry still needs to do more to understand the impact of extensive business travel on a person and introduce more programs to keep people healthy.

“This is really important if you want the top people working for you and delivering,” he said, adding that companies need to go beyong introducing blanket policies. He pointed out that a 25-year-old business traveler will have very different needs from someone in their 60s.

“There’s still a long way for companies to go to take it to that level.”

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