How to improve employee productivity while travelling

Tired business man sitting with head in hands

Traveller stress, fatigue and productivity don’t mix

As business travel represents a significant cost for companies, making sure it’s effective and productive increasingly means investing in your traveller’s wellbeing. Booking the overnight redeye flight, or a hotel in a noisy location, might deliver cost savings but ultimately impact on the traveller’s ability to perform.

According to a new GBTA study “Leveraging Data to Improve Traveler Experience” conducted in partnership with the Airlines Reporting Corporation and released in August, traveller experiences can have both positive and negative impacts on corporate retention and turnover. 

Globally companies are increasingly recognising the impact of business travel on wellbeing, productivity, employee retention and an employee’s personal life. There is no doubt that the stress of regular business travel takes it toll and creates additional hidden costs on top of the hard cost of business travel. However, putting the right strategies in place can improve each traveller’s experience, health and effectiveness.

Technology triumphs
Employees that are spending unnecessary time managing their itineraries, organising transfers and keeping track of flight delays are not going to be focussed. By harness technology and smart travel apps, to automatically send timely alerts and updates to travellers, they can spend less time on the trip details and put more time into the purpose of the trip. Apps transforming the travel experience include FCM Travel Solutions’ Sam (Smart Assistant for Mobile) – a powerful chatbot travel assistant that blends artificial intelligence and integrated travel consultant support. 

Upgrade and up productivity
There are times when the extra cost of a premium economy or business class flight is well worth it. When a traveller has to hit the ground running or front up for an important presentation, arriving rested and prepared is vital. Many companies acknowledge this by setting fare guidelines such as approving business class for flights over eight hours and premium economy for flights over five hours. The benefits of business class for traveller productivity include a flat bed – for a good night’s sleep, privacy pods – with space to work, priority check-in, boarding and disembarking and dedicated airport lounges.

Build in a buffer 
Nothing induces stress in a traveller more than an unrealistic itinerary, tight connection times and an over scheduled program with back-to-back meetings and commitments. Building a buffer into the schedule is vital in case flights are delayed, traffic is gridlocked or meetings run late. Arriving the night before a major presentation or building a little breathing space into an itinerary will ensure your employees travel and work at their peak, while maintaining their wellbeing.

Turn downtime into up time
Unexpected delays are part and parcel of regular business travel. Weather events, aircraft issues and long layovers between connecting flights can all add up to many hours of wasted time. However investing in airport lounge memberships or a late hotel check-out, can give travellers the opportunity to catch up on work in a quiet and comfortable environment. Many frequent flyer programs also provide members with more generous carry-on luggage allowances, enabling business travellers to forgo checked luggage and exit the airport in a more timely manner

A home away from home
When business travellers arrive at their destination, the last thing they want is an out of the way hotel, noisy location or pokey room. Apartment hotels are increasingly popular with business travellers as they provide kitchen facilities, a dedicated workspace and usually high speed internet. Many business travellers sight maintaining their exercise routine and a healthy diet, as a key concern. So accommodation offering a gym, kitchen and a bit more space can help to compensate for the inevitability of travel outside of regular work hours.

Travel smarter 
At FCM we believe that to contain costs your employees don’t necessarily need to travel less, they just need to travel smarter. Welcome to the global FCM SmartSTAY program. SmartSTAY enhances the traveller experience by providing value-added accommodation extras, at no additional cost to your company. Every SmartSTAY property offers guests a minimum of three complimentary value-added services. Ranging from free room upgrades to Wi-Fi, breakfast, car parking and late checkout, the services are available year-round and offer guests greater comfort and convenience. 
So take the time to review your travel policies to see what changes could relieve traveller stress and soft dollar costs, while supporting productivity and delivering hard dollar savings for your company. Just make sure the economics really do add up.

For more information, ask FCM Travel Solutions about how to boost traveller productivity and motivation, without increasing costs. 

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