Why should employee well-being be a priority?
Employee well-being... This is not a new concept in the business travel industry... But what does "Well-Being" actually mean? The concept appeared in the early 2000s in line with a growing awareness of psychosocial risks (PSR) in the workplace. Well-being could be defined as a combination of meeting the employee's needs with finding the right balance between their personal and professional life and the belief that their job is meaningful (read our article on the search for meaning). This definition would not be complete if it didn’t take into account the employees' safety and health while in the workplace or in the course of their duties.
Did you know? WHO defines well-being!
In 1994, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued this definition: "Well-being at work is a dynamic state of mind, characterised by a satisfactory harmony between the abilities, needs and aspirations of the worker, on the one hand, and the constraints and possibilities of the environment."
Well-being or improved wellness after the crisis?
Nowadays, well-being describes a real personal need that goes beyong wellness considerations. Employees, especially those travelling for work, are no longer happy with what well-being used to be, pre-Covid crisis. Back then, and with little exaggeration, it was all about improved travel conditions, upgrades or facilities aimed at enhancing their travel. If a manager asked an employee to travel for their job, they would agree without any discussion.
The transformative change comes from the search for meaning that drives most employees nowadays. It is closely linked to the reorganisation of work and the fact that working from home is now a standard. This new organisation, widely acclaimed by employees, has enabled them to reclaim their own pace of life, to better reconcile the demands of their personal lives with their professional goals and, above all, successfully manage several projects remotely, which they would have been carried out in person. Videoconferencing has led many companies to rethink their business trips to being more than costs reduction. "Why disrupt my new work/life balance with an exhausting trip when I can achieve the same result by video?" Who has honestly never heard these words from those around them! An employee's well-being has become a criterion for assessing the relevance of a trip in the same way as its cost.
Is well-being an HR argument?
In a context of labour shortage, the job market favours job-seekers. Therefore the quality of work life (QWL) and consequently, "well-being", has become a real argument when hiring a new talent. It also serves the employer brand by enhancing the company's image on the market. As part of the employer brand, the travel policy (especially for candidates with responsibilities) must also be reviewed in order to meet employees' needs in terms of well-being.
To find out more, read our article "Recruitment in a context of labour shortage?"
And what does well-being look like when applied to business travel?
In the context of economic recovery, targeting a return to 2019 figures at the very least, companies may be tempted to increase the volume and pace of projects and, therefore, travel more. However, a new factor has to be considered: employees now play a crucial decision-making role. They want to keep control of their "agenda" and how they managed their projects.
Managers must be much more persuasive than they were before the crisis to convince their employees of the need to travel. Therefore, well-being, or rather wellness, which has become a part of the working environment must naturally be extended to include business travel. How?
- Ensuring employee's safety.
This goes without saying, but in an uncertain global climate, particularly in terms of health and the geopolitical situation, increased vigilance by the company regarding travel safety is essential to reassure employees. This means better identifying risks, more qualified information and a presence (physical or virtual) throughout the experience.
- By adjusting the pace of travel.
No more round trips between Paris and NYC in 36 hours, an end to 4 or 5 trips per month between Paris and Marseille for meetings lasting just a few hours, etc. The time has come to consolidate and streamline travel. All studies in our industry point in this direction. Nowadays, employees want to reduce the frequency of their trips and group them together, even if it means being absent for longer. Better travel is the counterpart of well-being!
- No skimping on your employee's comfort.
Comfort has a price, but so do your employees! Your Human Resources Director will agree with us on this point. In view of how tense the job market has become, it is time to build employee loyalty. Even more so than before the crisis, travel is only justified if it produces results. Indeed, some of the savings made by reducing the number of trips can be allocated to improving travel conditions. A case-by-case approach can also be a solution in this respect.
- Last but not least, allowing the employee to take charge of his trip!
If well-being = satisfaction, offer your employees the chance to personalise their business trip as much as possible, in particular by allowing them to take advantage of bleisure. Letting them enjoy their trip means increasing their satisfaction and therefore... You get the picture!
Satisfaction, no concern, stress reduction, security, balance, listening and reassurance are all conditions that contribute to the well-being of employees on business trips. The recent crisis has not only had negative outcomes. Well-being has now moved away from the field of marketing to become a priority action plan for travel managers, buyers and service providers alike! Pretty good news, don't you think?!