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AVOID BURNOUT: REDUCE TRAVELLER FRICTION IN 4 EASY STEPS

It's important to understand the negative impact frequent travel has on your super commuters to avoid burnout.

This article was originally posted by Direct Travel on the DT Navigator Blog

In the business world, the doors open around 8:00 a.m. and close around 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. While many employees head home to enjoy the weekend, a handful of employees are stuck on the tarmac trying to get home or cutting their weekend short in order to attend a meeting first thing Monday morning.

Road warriors are typically not on the same schedule as many of your other employees. That's why it's important to understand the negative impact frequent travel has on your super commuters to avoid burnout.

The dreaded traveller friction

Business travel thought leader Scott Gillespie defines "traveler friction" as the negative impact that the business travel experience has on a traveller, which can be caused by the frequency of travel and other key factors that do not best satisfy the traveller’s needs.

According to an article in Business Travel News, replacing mid- and senior-level talent can result in an all-in cost between 50 percent and 200 percent of the executive's annual salary. That's a lot of money and lost revenue to your company, all because of traveller burnout.

“Lost productivity, travel resistance, and barriers to recruiting and retaining top talent are some of the negative repercussions for organizations with purely cost-focused travel policies,” said Madia Sargent, VP, Managing Director, Consulting Services for Direct Travel. “There needs to be a balance between cost containment, traveller satisfaction and productivity. I think that there always needs to be collaboration with human resources and legal in order to make decisions regarding travel policy in order to take lost productivity and retention strategies into consideration.”

Slowing traveller burnout

We bet that you want to ensure your road warriors are avoiding travel fatigue and are not at risk of leaving the company.

Here are 4 steps easy steps that will help ease pressure on your road warriors to improve satisfaction, increase their productivity on the road and hopefully stop them from throwing in the towel.

#1 – Measure the cost of attrition

Replacing an employee is expensive. In a recent industry study, it was found that the average probability of your road warriors voluntarily leaving in two years is 24 percent across all the frequent travellers in the study. While you may not have direct say over how frequently or when an employee travels, we recommend collaborating with your human resources department to develop a fact-based analysis that helps you educate your key executive partners about the cost of high performers who travel frequently.

Your analysis should highlight your road warriors – generally those who are traveling 30 to 35 trips per year – to understand the value in terms of cost and profits. Share those results with senior leadership so they can see the cost that the wear and tear of travel could have on their business.

#2 – Review your data

Not only do you want to help leadership understand the value of your road warriors from a human resources lens, but you also want to share the numbers in regards to travel. In your analysis, make sure to feature travel data for each traveller – for example, the quantity of travel (trips taken, miles travelled, nights away from home), the time of travel (early morning, weekend and red-eye flights) and the type of travel (international vs domestic).

This data is eye opening and an opportunity to start making changes on behalf of your road warriors.

#3 – Influence company culture

Not only is it executive leaders and a travel manager's role to help out a road warrior, but it's also all of our jobs to support our colleagues. For example, avoid Monday morning meetings so your coworkers don't have to travel on the weekend and utilize virtual meeting technology if an in-person meeting isn't required.

Learn more about collaborating remotely from our past Direct Travel Navigator blog: Collaboration on the Road: 7 Ways to Maximize Traveler Productivity.

Collaboration on the Road - 7 Ways to Maximize Traveler Productivity

#4 - Update your travel policy

Once you understand the cost of your traveller burnout, it's time to make changes to your travel policy. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your travellers aren't required to travel on the weekend, are able to book flights that allow them to be productive in the air and minimize that amount of unnecessary in-person meetings to control costs and save traveller energy for key business opportunities.

What's next?

Slowing traveller burnout with the current pace of business is a big challenge for organizations. Find a corporate travel management partner who can help you identify key pieces of traveller data and make strategic recommendations when a traveller is reaching a potential breaking point.