Employee well-being is critical for businesses, and a proactive approach can improve employee wellness, motivation, and performance. As the world becomes more open to travel, an increasing number of companies are seeing the value of encouraging employees to travel for wellness and schedule mini-vacations to avoid burnout.
Wellness travel is popular because it aims to put a pause on life’s demands and recharge the body, mind, and soul. Travel enriches lives and lets employees take a well-deserved break, relieve stress, and see the world from a different perspective.
So, how can companies encourage their employees to travel the world not only to make meaningful memories but also for their own well-being? Consider the following suggestions as you develop programs tailored to your employees.
Employee well-being has long been a hot topic among workplace leaders, but it’s often a strategic goal that gets pushed to the sidelines. However, the pandemic has prompted unprecedented business challenges, emphasizing the critical need for a healthy workforce. It has become evident that companies that wish to retain talent and remain competitive must now prioritize employee wellness.
Employee wellness programs can help improve employee satisfaction and productivity, address physical and mental health concerns, prevent digital eye strain, and demonstrate how the organization values its workforce. Still, employers can think beyond traditional wellness initiatives to improve employee well-being. Companies can provide more comprehensive employee benefits by expanding the definition of wellness to include more than just physical health.
For instance, you can include a corner dedicated to travel tips and guidelines in your company newsletter. You can even have guest posts from employees who have traveled recently. This form of content shows employees that the company cares about their overall well-being and encourages them to travel for their health and wellness.
Help make the travel process as painless as possible by reviewing key factors when choosing an airline, such as customer service, on-time performance, luggage delivery times, legroom, and airport locations. Read hotel reviews, as well, to address some of the frequently overlooked stressors of business and personal travel.
Create city guides with information on healthy restaurants and grocery stores for popular tourist destinations. Compile information from travel partners and employee recommendations. You can also suggest apps for finding restaurants, groceries, fitness centers, and other places to help employees eat and stay healthy while on vacation.
Form partnerships with travel agencies to make travel more convenient and accessible for your employees. You can request corporate discounts to provide your employees with cost-effective travel options. Build relationships with travel-related brands for products such as carry-on luggage, anti-theft travel bags, water bottles, and portable chargers. Your employees will undoubtedly appreciate special offers and deals on travel gear.
Many companies issue credit cards to employees who travel a lot for work. Some employers even permit using these credit cards for personal travel expenses. If this isn’t something you can do right now, consider reaching out to credit card companies with extensive travel rewards programs to discuss their packages with your employees. Those interested can apply on the spot and receive their credit cards upon approval.
When it comes to business travel, do not forget that the ROI on your travel expenses is directly proportional to employee performance. Think about it: Who will perform better—the employee who spent an eight-hour flight in a cramped seat with subpar food or the one who had a seat with more legroom and delicious meals?
Consider the effects of a long-haul flight on your employees as well. Nobody gets off an eight-hour flight feeling completely refreshed and ready to take on the day. Remember that jetlag can have a negative impact on your employees’ health and productivity. So, think out of the box when creating your travel policy. This can range from discouraging employees from checking their work email within the first five hours upon arrival to implementing a full day off post-trip to ensure employees are well-rested for upcoming challenges.
Spending a little more goes a long way for both the business and the employees. Even something as simple as the option to upgrade to an economy plus seat with a few extra inches of legroom and priority boarding—or even access to the business class lounge—can make a big difference.
To keep the focus on traveler well-being, consider a flexible purchasing policy that can change depending on the circumstances of the business trip and the needs of the employee. Include a perk that allows employees to change or customize their itinerary. Some aspects of wellness travel should be left to the employee’s discretion. After all, not everyone enjoys yoga, long hikes, or vegan meals.
In addition, allow your employees to earn points or frequent flier miles for their favorite airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and so on that comply with your company’s travel program. Reward your employees with this simple benefit that can accrue to a free flight or hotel stay.
Travel can be a great teacher and stress reliever for people of all ages. It is a valuable source of rest, healing, and even inspiration. Businesses should seriously consider the significant benefits traveling can bring their hardworking employees. More than simply including paid time off in contracts, employers and managers must effectively communicate that taking time off to travel and restore physical and mental health is strongly encouraged.