Turning business travel into benefit – how to build a bleisure policy

While the key aspects of creating a well-balanced travel program might not have changed, the expectations of the average business traveller certainly have. Cost and traveller safety will always underpin your approach, but it’s worth noting that there is an increased need for flexible trip options that facilitate a more personal travel experience. The boundaries between work and play spaces have shifted, so acknowledging this dynamic makes for happier travellers, resulting in more motivated and productive employees.

The draconian limits of a pandemic world have highlighted the value of freedom – and the power of choice. A sense of independence and self-determination can positively influence the mental well-being of the business traveller. According to recently published survey results by BCD Travel, nine out of ten travel managers acknowledge that employee well-being is very important. Despite this finding, there still appears to be a gap between traveller expectations and travel program guidelines.

Key areas to consider

Key areas where current travel policies seem to fall short are:

  • Granting extra time off to employees to compensate for travel outside of working hours
  • Allowing partners or family to accompany them on selected trips
  • Incorporating leisure time during business trips.

Another way to provoke a positive mental mindset, particularly for the experienced and frequent traveller – is to give them the freedom of choice – who they use, how long they stay and whether they even travel at all!

Being involved in the decision-making around whether to travel or not was the fourth most significant travel policy guideline contributing to employee well-being. With this in mind, the customisation of the travel policy to accommodate the specific needs of the roaming nomad worker is also well worth considering.

Re-writing the rules

Regardless of just how much autonomy you are willing to provide – ensure that the rules of engagement are distinctly defined so that risk to both business and the traveller is minimised. Be very clear.

  • Introduction/objective– Explain the goals and set expectations for all employees travelling for business
  • Approval/pre-approvals– Specify which travel requests require pre- or special approvals
  • Booking/reservations– Detail how and when travellers can add personal travel days to a business trip
  • People risk management– Define the duty of care protocols and safety guidelines relating to the leisure portion of the trip
  • Spending/T&E/expense guidelines– Clarify what is covered and what is not and make clear who will be responsible for payment which expenses
  • Transportation guidelines– This should cover rules for travel companion trips, insurance requirements, and accidents.

A suitably constructed travel policy can be an important tool in attracting and retaining the right people for roles in which business travel is required. It is an opportunity to demonstrate organisational understanding and respect for the personal demands that this lifestyle generates.

Contact us for guidance on how to structure a travel policy that works for you and your travellers.