Starting the conversation : Wellbeing and corporate travel
2020 is the year to turn good intentions into meaningful actions, so now's the time to look at improving traveller wellbeing in your organisation
Starting the conversation
Wellbeing and corporate travel
Often branded as self-care or mindfulness,
calls to take better care of our mental
wellbeing have made up many headlines
over the last year or so. As a result, there’s
now a greater expectation on employers to
do whatever they can to support employees
in all aspects of their work life...
Often branded as self-care or mindfulness, calls to take better care of our mental wellbeing have made up many headlines over the last year or so. As a result, there’s now a greater expectation on employers to do whatever they can to support employees in all aspects of their work life.
Wellbeing has become a huge discussion point within the context of corporate travel, in part due to wider discussions regarding mental health and also due to the fact that it is incredibly easy for frequent travel to take its toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of travellers.
With the interrupted routines and packed schedules that often come as part of travelling for work, it’s easy for travellers to develop unhealthy habits that can compromise their wellbeing and productivity and so it’s vital that organisations mitigate against this. A successful traveller wellbeing initiative aims to do two things; identify practices that might have a negative effect on wellbeing while travelling for business and implementing processes to eradicate or limit this.
In this short guide we will run through how travel and procurement managers can be best prepared to kick off the conversation that will improve traveller wellbeing within your organisation:
As with preparing for any development to your corporate travel strategy, it’s best to start by examining your travel data. This will give you an objective overview of how your organisation is actually travelling – you can drill down into the details and bring the data to life by talking to travellers later in the project.
Start by using your analytics tool to identify your most frequent travellers and look at how they have been travelling over the last few months. Is there anything within the data that raises concerns? For example, frequent long-haul flights or little down-time between trips? It’s easy for travel patterns like this to become the norm, but it’s only by identifying them that you will have the chance to address them.
Your organisation’s corporate travel data will also tell you which suppliers you most frequently book with. You can use this information to approach them and negotiate any ‘added-value’ extras to be incorporated within your current rate in order to make your travellers’ trips more comfortable. Alternatively, you can talk to your TMC about doing this task for you.
Once armed with data, it’s time to do some anecdotal research that gathers opinion and general feeling within your organisation. Most importantly, what are the experiences of your most frequent travellers?
Employees who travel far and wide, and often, will most likely have some useful insights into how travel impacts their physical and mental wellbeing. However, it’s also important to appreciate that talking about their experiences could be challenging, particularly if negative, so it’s worth considering how you can make this process as easy as possible for them. Could you create an anonymous survey to gather initial feedback?
As with any move to implement a new initiative, it’s vital that all stakeholders are clear on why your organisation is deciding to do this now. Has this been a goal that’s been on the agenda for a while? Is there increasing governmental or legislative pressure? Or societal pressure? Are others in your sector making similar changes?
Knowing why you’re trying to improve traveller wellbeing is the first step in making it a reality. It will help you to come up with realistic goals to measure your success, as well as develop an effective communications strategy.
It’s also important to talk to those closest to your travel programme – your travel managers and bookers. Gathering their opinions on what kind of changes would make the biggest impact, and importantly be the most achievable, is essential creating a sustainability strategy that is realistic for your organisation – one that will produce results and fit your company culture.
With wellbeing a hot topic within the corporate travel industry, and also the news in general, there’s never been a better time to set aside some time to thoroughly research the subject.
Attending conferences and trade shows, both within your sector and also within the corporate travel space will provide the opportunity to see what other organisations are doing to improve traveller wellbeing. Taking inspiration from how other organisations are changing the traveller experience can be a really effective way of kicking things off within your own business – or at the very least stimulate discussion around what could work.
Look for case studies that demonstrate how organisations have implemented a more traveller-centric travel programme, or for guides that could form discussion points when talking to your stakeholders.
Another powerful research tool is your TMC. As travel experts, they should have a confirmed stance on traveller wellbeing and also be in communication with suppliers about what they can offer to improve trips.
Working as closely as possible with your TMC throughout the project will deliver the best results – they should understand your organisation’s culture, your travel habits, wider business goals and be able to predict and monitor the success of the project by analysing your travel data. They can share best practices and advice on what your industry peers are doing, ensuring that your plans get off to the best possible start.