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10 October 2012 | Anna Reynolds
Delayed baggage, poor internet connections and travelling in economy on a long haul flight are the biggest time wasters and inducers of stress for business travellers.
A report published by CWT Solutions Group surveyed 6,000 business travellers around the world to find out the biggest triggers of stress during a business trip.
The company asked respondents to score 33 stress factors on a scale of 10 to 100, where 100 is maximum perceived stress. From this, the triggers were grouped into three main categories of ‘lost time’, ‘surprises’ and ‘routine breakers’.
Overall, unseen events or surprises, such as delayed baggage scored the highest, at 79 out of 100. Lost time occurred in situations where the ability to work was difficult or impossible, such as a poor internet connection at a destination (77 out of 100) and flying economy on a long haul flight (73 out of 100).
Vincent Lebunetel, senior director of CWT and co-editor-in-chief of the report, said in a statement: "Travelling smarter rather than less will be the way to find the optimal balance between the superficial costs of travel and the hidden ones. The travel stress index considers all stress factors so that buyers can make more informed decisions and reduce the impact of travel-related stress both on employees and on a company’s bottom line.”
Furthermore, the survey found on average women ranked stressful events four points higher than men. Frequent travellers were found to be more skilled at tackling surprises, but more distressed when they lost time. Routine breakers such as not being able to eat healthily at a destination, measured 67 on the stress scale by women compared to 60 by men.
The survey also revealed that respondents living with a partner who travelled during weekends and made long stays (more than three days) reported an additional eight points of stress compared to those who lived alone. The same results were found when comparing respondents with and without children.
Age also had a correlation with stress factors, with older travellers reporting a lower level of stress for working longer hours at a destination compared to younger groups.