For many industries, business travel has become a regular part of day-to-day operations. From meeting clients to visiting different branches, there are plenty of reasons that make business travel essential for many organisations.
As important as it may be, however, it’s not always ideal for staff to be on the move. So what can be done to help?
To make things easier on your team, we’ve compiled a list of 10 top tips to keep your employees happy and comfortable when they’re travelling for business.
1. Sign up for loyalty programmes
Loyalty programmes with airlines are an excellent way for companies to improve the lives of their frequent fliers. Not only does this give you an opportunity to capitalise on your travel arrangements, but the perks you receive will also directly benefit your employees that are making the journey.
By accumulating points with each trip, you can treat your staff with rewards such as seat upgrades and access to airport lounges — therefore allowing your employees to wait out the more monotonous aspects of travelling in comfort.
2. Make the right accommodation choices
Businesses should always look for opportunities to save money. However, when it comes to choosing the accommodation for your staff, the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best.
As your employees are sacrificing their time to represent the company in a different destination, it’s only fair that you make their home away from home as comfortable as possible. Considerations such as the accommodation location and how noisy the area is will have a big impact — your team won’t be at their best if they struggle sleeping or need to wake up extra early for a long morning commute.
3. Provide cultural knowledge
Business travel can lead to some incredible cities in countries all across the world. While this is an exciting opportunity, it can also be daunting for people who are not particularly well-travelled.
Travelling internationally presents the risk of faux pas that can be commonplace in unfamiliar territories, both in the office and out. Simple things like the proper way to greet a client or how to interact with locals can be stressful for those who are new to the country and its customs.
By researching the destination and providing your staff with knowledge to prepare them for the trip, they can avoid any unintentional cultural slip-ups and feel more confident on their travels.
4. Adopt a ‘bleisure’ policy
Business travel can often take us to some exciting places. As such, it can be disheartening for employees to travel to a destination, only to miss out on experiencing what it has to offer.
By implementing a ‘bleisure’ — or business-leisure — policy, you can add an extra day or two to your travel itinerary that’s dedicated to letting your employees relax and enjoy their surroundings. With the thought of exploring a new city and enjoying a mini-break, your staff will look forward to the opportunity to travel for work.
You can even take this a step further by providing the option to take family members along too, allowing employees to share the leisure aspect with their loved ones.
5. Stay healthy
You’ll need your team to be at their best on a business trip, both physically and mentally. Food is an important factor to consider when travelling — and while your staff should be free to eat whatever they choose, it’s important that there are healthy, nutritious meals available as an option. Choosing accommodation with kitchen facilities gives your employees the freedom to prepare their own meals while also saving your business the added cost of dining out.
Having access to fitness facilities is also important for your team; if your hotel doesn’t provide an on-site gym, it’s a good idea to offer subsidised gym passes or fitness classes. Likewise, any mindful classes like yoga should be considered to allow your employees to fully unwind while away from home.
6. Keep them connected…
If your team is travelling for work, you need to make sure they have what they need to get the job done. It’s likely that they’ll be working from laptops, or at the very least a smartphone. Therefore, keeping your team connected is a must.
Equipping your employees with some handy tech will enable them to work remotely as they travel, whenever they need to. Power banks will ensure their devices are always topped up with power, while a WiFi hotspot will mean they’ll never be interrupted with poor signals when completing critical work on the go.
7. But not all the time
As important as it is to make sure your staff can get their heads down when they need to, it’s equally important to allow them to switch off at the end of the day. Your employees are away from home 24/7 when travelling — but that doesn’t mean that they should feel like they’re always on the clock.
A good way to implement this is to adopt practices introduced in European countries such as France, Spain and Italy. Known as the “right to disconnect”, this legislation gives workers the right to not respond to out-of-hours work communications. By following a similar path, you can set a precedent that once the working day is over, your employees can fully relax without feeling pressured to continue working.
8. Don’t make it all about work
Speaking of switching off, another way you can help your staff feel more comfortable is to not make everything about work. Once the working day is done, take the opportunity to engage with your team on a more personal level. Cultivate an open environment and communicate that your employees are free to relax when not with a client or working behind a computer.
Similarly, your team should never feel the need to follow suit with everything you do just because you’re the boss. Just because you like to wake up at 6 AM for a quick workout and an early breakfast doesn’t mean they should feel the need to do so too.
9. Create a streamlined reimbursement process
Reimbursement processes can play a big role in how employees perceive business travel. If your staff need to jump through hoops to be reimbursed each time they travel, they’ll dread using the perks that you offer them.
Your expense reimbursement process should be easy-to-follow and clearly laid out to all employees ahead of time — employees should never have to use their own discretion to decide what is an allowable expense.
Put in place a centralised system for submitting expenses to keep documentation in order. It’s best if this is digitised so that your employees can submit them on the go without needing to worry about keeping a hold of invoices and receipts for the duration of their trip.
10. Offer support
While some may only travel once a month, for others, commuting can occur far more frequently. For those who regularly travel — especially overseas — it can take a toll on their wellbeing. Additionally, frequent travel can lead to childcare issues or even strains on personal relationships.
From anxiety and loneliness, to fatigue or feeling down, having someone in the workplace that employees can talk to can go a long way in supporting their mental health; as can offering an out-of-hours counselling phone line for those who are struggling on the road. This can lead to considerations being made to allow employees to reduce the amount of business travel required of them — ensuring that it doesn’t feel as though they’re being forced into a situation they’re uncomfortable with.
Make your business travel smoother with CMAC
As ground transport experts, CMAC can help make your business travel even smoother.
With managed services like door-to-door transport, you can pre-plan your employees’ commutes and even track each journey to make sure everyone arrives safely and on time.