No matter how many business trips you take, you’re always going to feel more stressed than you would at home in your regular daily routine. In fact, research from HEC Paris and Carlson Wagonlit Travel found that frequent flyers (6-10+ trips per year) actually experience a higher level of stress than those who take fewer than five business trips per year.
What’s the source of all this stress?
The same study identified three basic stress categories that encompass all 33 primary stressors:
- Lost time: Loss of productivity and focus during transit, internet problems and concerns over work mounting up back in the office are all key sources of traveller stress.
- Surprises: Flight delays, losing baggage and last-minute accommodation arrangements can be emotionally and mentally taxing.
- Routine breakers: Irregular flight times, unhealthy meals, missing workouts, and being away from family creates disruption and elevates stress levels.
So, it’s evident that even seasoned travellers tend to feel the burden of business trips - the good news is that there a number of things you can to do lighten the load. Here are five proven ways to reduce stress on your next business trip:
Design an itinerary that minimises stress
The first step in reducing stress on business trips is to create an itinerary that works for you. This might involve finding flights with minimal layover time, leaving plenty of time between meetings and travelling at a reasonable hour in line with your natural circadian rhythms. When you arrive at your destination, hit the ground by following our tips on how to beat to jet lag.
Be realistic about your workload
It’s inevitable that your productivity is going to take a hit while you’re travelling. Rather than beating yourself up about it, be conscious of these limitations and set yourself a realistic workload target. If necessary, be sure to communicate your goals with colleagues to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Give yourself some personal time
An excellent way to destress is to schedule some personal time and mix some pleasure with your business. ‘Bleisure’ trips are becoming increasingly popular, with as many as 85 percent of respondents to a survey from Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card reporting setting aside time for recreational activities while on a business trip. Whether you choose to see the local sights, unwind by the pool or treat yourself to a good meal, this downtime is an important part of injecting some enjoyment into your trip.
Bring your partner and/or family
The most stressful part about business travel isn’t the effect it has on your productivity - it’s being away from family. With this in mind, consider bringing your partner with you. Of course, this won’t be practical to do every time, but the odd business trip with loved ones can reduce the strain on the family and make travel that much more enjoyable.
Don’t neglect your body
The last thing you might feel like doing after a lengthy flight is working out, but research suggests that this is a critical part of stress relief. Physical exercise is proven to release endorphins, elevate your mood, reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, and improve your ability to focus.
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