Corporate travel and accommodation buyers are failing to consider the impact their choices are having on their employee’s mental health and wellbeing, according to research.
A poll of 94 travel managers from 14 countries and 874 business travellers from 109 countries found 40% of employees rated their experience travelling as three or higher out of five for stress – with five being ‘extremely stressful and one being ‘not stressed’. As a result, 20% of employees claim this makes them either ‘slightly’, or much ‘less productive’ in their work as a result.
The poll, by e-travel company Amadeus, found after top-ranked flight delays and lost baggage, the top causes of stress for travellers were lack of mobile network, no internet at all, flying economy on long-haul trips, and bad hotel location – all preventable problems if purchasers considered their employees’ needs better.
Ángel Gallego, EVP corporations, travel channels at Amadeus, said always going for the cheapest option can be a false economy. “There’s no doubt companies and employees benefit from business travel when it’s managed well,” he said. “But there is growing evidence high levels of business travel is associated with impacts on wellbeing.”
Despite the levels of stress recorded, the research found 39% of companies said they took no action to improve traveller wellbeing, with 44% of travel managers saying they did not consider duty of care as part of their remit. This is despite 91% of buyers admitting they knew their employees experienced high levels of stress in their business travel either ‘sometimes’ or ‘most of the time’.
The report highlighted lack of collaboration between purchasers and HR departments, and suggested that instead of incentivising purchasers according to the perceived financial savings they create, companies should instead link their bonuses to employee retention, medical claims or employee days off work.
It found purchasers could take the wellbeing lead if they want to. The data showed that when travel managers did suggest ways to improve wellbeing, their organisation accepted them 73% of the time.
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