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Business travelers are a happy lot - most enjoy traveling on business with only a negligible few getting extremely bogged down by the stress of travel. In a survey conducted by Amadeus of business travelers across 109 countries, 75% of the respondents said that they enjoyed travelling most of the time. But perhaps the most surprising result was that 48% responded that travelling makes them more productive, while 30% mentioned that travelling had no effect on their productivity and 20% experience a small to large drop in productivity when they are on business trips!
In the survey business travelers were asked how they feel on as many as 37 different aspects of travelling, ranging from baggage delay or loss, connectivity etc. Not surprisingly delayed or lost baggage was the biggest stress factor of all while lack of mobile network and the absence or poor quality of internet connectivity ranked second and third respectively. Business travelers seem stressed on lack of personal comfort factors: long journeys, inconvenient flight times, indirect flights, poor hotel category and location also ranked high. Health concerns came to the surface too, with some business travelers suggesting that their unhealthy eating and lack of exercise caused them stress.
Overall though, only 1% of business travelers found business travel extremely stressful. This is in sharp contrast to travel managers who largely perceived business travel to be stressful for their employees. Moving over to productivity, although 48% said travelling increases their productivity, this was a concern for 1 out of 5 business travelers who stated that travel made them much less productive.
The survey tried to break down the responses on stress and productivity according to several different demographic variations in the survey group, including age, gender, marital status, whether they had children and how often they took flights. What emerged was that women, who accounted for 32% of the survey sample, registered a higher average stress score for the 37 individual stress factors than did men. Additionally, women with children under the age of 18 considered themselves more stressed by business travel overall than other women.
As a remedial measure and broadly speaking, companies should provide frequent business travelers – male and female - with choice and flexibility. Intentional flexibility will keep women and men in the workforce, improve productivity, widen the pool of talent and ensure companies are matching the demands and expectations of the current workforce which has shifted from a 9-5 schedule to an alternative model dictated by technology and globalization.
Want to find out more? Download a copy of the whitepaper - Business traveler well-being: How to keep your employees healthy, happy and productive when they travel for work