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The Return of Business Travel:How to Avoid Sacrificing Recent Wellness Successes

Over the past year and a half, the nature of business has changed dramatically. After the transition to a fully digital work interface, the possibility of face-to-face interaction in the office is once again a reality. In addition to additional safety precautions and hybrid work schedules, returning to work also means returning to work travel.

SummaryImproving Employee Wellbeing in a Post-Pandemic WorldPost-Covid Business Travel:Focus on Employee WellbeingHow to Support the Mobile Workforce Increase Business Travel During COVID-19Reshaping the Travel Recovery business after Covid-19

Before the pandemic, a high percentage of business travel was spent in airports, hotels and rental cars. Although most of these essential modes of transport are the same, their use and impact on employee well-being are completely different. Understanding the importance of wellness and holistic living, this norm of corporate mobility has changed dramatically.

The pandemic has forced many of us to shift to working from home, but for some a return to the office is

imminent. According to the findings of a Gensler survey, employees are more eager to return to the office for the networking and community aspects, which are difficult to replicate organically while working from home. The COVID-19 Delta variant has surely delayed and will delay office openings for the rest of 2021, even still some large employers plan to bring employees back after Labor Day.

In many cases, remote work served as a sufficient substitute for in-person activities, especially in terms of saving time and money. However, many companies fear that the sense of community is permanently compromised. In-person client visits, conferences, and internal summits involved more than absorbing information and executing an agenda; it was also about building and maintaining strong business relationships. According to a Harvard Business Review study, 95% of people agree that face-to-face meetings help build and maintain those relationships.

Indisputably, organizations are stronger if they have deeper customer relationships solely through face-to-face interaction. In fact, the Global Business Traveler Report found that 80% of business travelers fear that the inability to travel to meet in person will negatively impact their professional life. Additionally, investing in in-person customer interaction demonstrates the organization's quality and commitment to providing an overall positive customer experience.

Improving employee-wellbeing in a post-pandemic world

According to The 2021 Gallup Report, 57% of North American employees report feeling stress on a daily basis since the start of the pandemic, up 8% from the previous year. So by looking at what you can do to improve employee wellbeing while traveling on business in 2021, you could dramatically increase employee happiness and reduce the risk of burnout. For example, you can give them access to a healthy lifestyle regimen, including hiking groups that promote physical and social well-being.

A possible return to the office also means that some employees will be back in the air for business trips. That being said, organizations will have to adapt to the movement of their employees in a post-pandemic world. The biggest change is how the pandemic has highlighted the importance of employee wellness.

Post-Covid Business Travel:Focus on employee well-being

How can organizations make employee wellbeing a priority now that business travel is resuming? Fortunately, 78% of employers worldwide are committed to creating a healthy workplace culture to boost employee engagement. There are several ways to respond to this initiative to ensure the safety and happiness of your employees during their travels by facilitating the possibility of living in a furnished residence that promotes both their health and their well-being, especially for extended assignments or relocations. This will ease the transition to a new environment and help improve general well-being, which will have a positive impact on work performance.

For some, traveling for business is a chance to visit new places and experience cultures they might not encounter otherwise. Travel, after all, can help companies better understand their customers and affiliates around the world. However, there is also a risk that business trips and employee relocations will go wrong, which could lead to the loss of strong talent. That's why it's essential to keep employees safe, satisfied and health-conscious.

Extended travel poses a myriad of challenges for employees who are often under significant job stress and, coupled with being away from family, this combination can be detrimental to both employer and traveller. Ensuring the well-being of your employees must remain a priority during business trips. Companies should consider offering exercise programs while their employees are traveling to keep their minds sharp and reduce stress. Giving employees back their free time could help them have a better experience, and thus improve employee satisfaction.

How to support the mobile workforce

For companies that regularly send employees on long-term assignments, there are a few considerations to keep in mind for temporary relocation. The first is to ensure that they have access to appropriate communication. For example, some organizations provide a dedicated phone number for employees on the road to call for assistance.

Adequate travel expenses are crucial for employees as they can be quite costly and the location may be more expensive than where they currently live. This means companies need to factor in housing prices near their intended destinations and overall cost-of-living adjustments.

Increase business travel during COVID-19

As the global market becomes more and more competitive, companies must travel abroad. In this case, they may need to move their employees for business trips. Relocating employees is a sensitive matter as it may mean uprooting them from family and friends in the short or long term. Still, there are ways to ensure the process goes smoothly.

The main factors to consider when moving an employee include living costs and benefits. If an employee moves to another city, state, or country to work, their employer may face several challenges. Before deciding to move an employee for a business, you should consider the pros and cons of moving.

For one thing, hiring a global mobility relocation outfit is essential. A specialist will know the ins and outs of relocating people overseas and abroad, from packing personal effects to finding high-end housing and even managing complex tax issues in a another state or country. Second, companies can provide their employees with the support they need during and after the process. A top employer with excellent employee retention typically offers excellent benefits, a stable workplace, and opportunities for personal and professional development. Healthy employees are more likely to stay at their current company, and 65% of employers worldwide believe wellness programs attract and retain workers.

Reshaping the resumption of business travel after Covid-19

Global business travel is resurfacing, and corporations are one of the main reasons for this trend. With time spent on the road, finding a solution that makes employees feel safe and comfortable while away from home is critical. Full-time workers in the United States with chronic health conditions miss 450 million more days of work each year than healthy workers. For those traveling for work, this is where employee corporate housing and wellness lifestyle comes into play. This type of accommodation offers a wide variety of benefits for the company, including:

  • Organized nutritional advice that takes into account any specific dietary restrictions
  • Access to social groups to help employees meet others who share the same healthy hobbies
  • Clean, safe and fully furnished residences
  • Live like a local in an upscale residential community for easier acclimatization
  • Meal Kit Subscription Services with Healthy Recipes
  • Spin, Pilates, Yoga, Cardio Boxing and HIIT classes to stay fit and active

It shouldn't feel like an employee is out of their element on a business trip. They need to feel at home so they can focus on their best work. That's why it's important to plan ahead and do everything in your power to ensure your employees' business travel in 2021 goes as smoothly as possible.

Finally, empowering employees to feel better also prepares them to perform at their best. So companies that go the extra mile to ensure positive results with business travel will help boost employee satisfaction and maximize return on investment.

Biography of the author

Daniel Corridon is the co-founder and CEO of Stay Fit, a disruptor in the global extended stay category. In 2016, StayFit was voted one of "America's Best Entrepreneurial Companies" by Entrepreneur magazine. In addition to his time at StayFit, Dan has over 20 years of executive-level experience, holds a Yale Certificate in Wellness Science, and currently serves on the advisory board of COMPETE Co.