Frequent travelling takes toll on mental capacity

12 June 2012

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12 June 2012 | Adam Leach

Busy travel schedules can damage business executives’ performance and leave them with lower levels of concentration and reduced mental capacity, according to a study.

Research conducted by AirPlus International and Business Travel Market found international travel could increase stress levels and decrease productivity.

The study measured heart rate variations in travelling executives, including participants on flights from London to Sydney and Germany to Dubai, over a 72-hour period and compared them with a control group who did not fly during the period. It found the travelling group spent just 14 per cent of the 72 hours relaxing, compared with 26 per cent of the time of non-travellers.

The study said this could negatively impact business performance through: a reduction of mental capacity; diminished communication skills; lower levels of concentration; decreased engagement; reduced levels of tolerance; and increased risk of ill health.

“Business travel is often represented as a luxury and the personal toll on executives is often overlooked,” said Paul Robin, event director at Business Travel Market. “Organisations need to mange their travel spend to better look after their staff and increase their productivity.”

The study advised buyers to remember that the ‘cheapest option’ may not always be the best choice and paying for business class seats or for a hotel the night before the flight might improve the state of the traveller when they arrive.

It also said buyers should regularly give advice to employees on how to stay at their best when travelling.

Supply Management is a partner of Business Travel Market 2012, which begins tomorrow at the ExCel in London.

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