The number of business trips in the United States is increasing every year and expected to keep rising. That number is expected to rise from 461.1 million trips in 2008 to an anticipated 471.1 million trips projected to be made by American business travelers in 2020, according to Statista.
No doubt there’s money to be made taking planes, trains and driving automobiles for small business, but there’s another side to the profit coin. Burnout is a factor for the over 1.3 million business travelers that took trips everyday in the United States last year.
Symptoms include having difficulty making decisions and feelings of irritability and anxiety. All these things can affect the way you get the job done on the road.
Tips for Reducing Business Travel Fatigue
Reduce Travel Costs
Dan Ruch is the founder and CEO at Rocketrip, Inc., a New York City based company dedicated to helping employees and management combine efforts to reduce travel costs. Although the company’s initial focus isn’t the small business arena, the template they’ve created works well for anyone regardless of the organization’s size.
“We’re in the behavioral change business, in a category we’re creating called incentivized decision making. What we do is make business travel, which can be a very stressful experience, fun and exciting again.”
Make It a Game
Generally, business travelers have a set amount and high end they can spend on lodging, food and such. Creating challenging and interesting ways to trim those budgets is one of the first methods to save expenses and reduce travel related stress.
“If you have to go on the road for your company and you’re willing to trade off a little comfort for a little value, you can be recognized for these thoughtful travel decisions,” Ruch says.
Here’s an example. Employees that contribute to a shared knowledge database of economical places to stay in certain cities and towns can be recognized for their contributions in a newsletter.
When employees feel like they have a say in small business policy that includes travel, there’s less anxiety and apprehension. As a small business owner, looking for feedback from your team lessens the stress.
“Some businesses create these constructs around approved vendors,” Ruch says. “Collecting feedback and engaging travelers in that conversation is very important in terms of easing the friction that exists today.”
Of course one of the easiest ways to decrease the stress your employees suffer from is to cut down on the amount of time they need to be on the road. Allowing them to work from home helps to lower their travel related blood pressure spikes. Ruch explains how technology can be used effectively to accomplish this.
“Using virtual meetings instead of in person meetings is another solution. Obviously there’s no replacing face to face time with clients, but this is a very powerful way to cut down on business travel related friction.”
Mix Business and Pleasure
Letting folks take the foot off that business gas pedal and enjoy some leisure time when they’re traveling for your small business also helps to lower anxiety and stress.
“The industry has started to call this Bleisure travel,” Ruch says. “Say you’ve planned a trip for four days, Tuesday to Friday. Why not allow your employee to stay the week and come back on Sunday? It’s the perfect opportunity to cut down on costs since the flight will be cheaper on Sunday and the employee gets the benefit of a little personal time in a new city.”
There are a few other simple things employees can do to make their time as road warriors for small business a little easier.
Don’t leave anything to the last minute. Planning ahead and making sure that every detail is covered makes any business trip a little easier to deal with. No one really wants any surprises when they are out on the road. That’s why it’s a good idea to double check and make sure you’ve got all the electronic and paper files you’ll need as well as all of the devices like tablets and laptops to make any business trip seamless.
We’re living in the digital age and there’s an app for everything including one to make your small business travel time easier. The best ones like AroundMe tell you where to find the essential business services and amenities in a strange city. Other apps like TripIt consolidate everything from flight to meeting schedules into one place.
Finally, Ruch says that some small businesses need to formalize their approach if they only have loose procedures for business travel.
“Small businesses that say they have no travel policy create more stress,” he says. “Employees need guidelines.”
Tired Traveler Photo via Shutterstock