It’s estimated that corporate business travel is a $274 billion per year industry. With approximately 40 million Americans traveling for business purposes annually, the stakes are high. Not only do they help businesses thrive remotely, but keeping those road warriors well is a key to overall business success. While many businesses have a corporate wellness program, they may be missing the mark when it comes to their traveling team members, especially when international travel is involved.
“A regular corporate wellness program is not usually going to cut it when it comes to the business traveler,” explains Natasha Léger, author of Travel Healthy: A Road Warriors Guide to Eating Healthy, and a partner in Global Business Travel Wellness Associates (GBTWA). “They really need a program that is tailored to their unique and ever-changing needs and environments.”
Here are 5 reasons why many corporate wellness programs fail their road warriors:
1. The program is not tailored to the traveler. Most corporate wellness programs focus on onsite employees. They don’t take into account the dynamic of being on the road, or in the air, frequently. The aircraft environment, for example, is unique and causes physical stress.
2. Focusing on the wrong incentives and wellness objectives. The incentives and wellness objectives for those in corporate wellness will not be the same as they are for the traveler. While avoiding high blood pressure and high body mass indexes (BMI’s) are common for all employees, the augmented factors of stress, disrupted sleep patterns, and poor dietary choices when traveling are not taken into account in many programs. Maintaining a strong immune system is crucial for frequent travelers but is overlooked by the typical corporate wellness program.
3. Healthy hotel, restaurant and airport recommendations are missing. Corporate wellness administrators will probably be aware of local healthy eateries and facilities. They may even have in-house gyms and healthy canteen options. But traveling employees need recommendations for dining out healthily three times a day, including at conferences and in catered meetings; hotels with appropriate work out facilities; inflight dining; airports with yoga studios and work out rooms. In short, any facilities that support travel wellness objectives.
4. The education is not fitting for the business traveler. The general information that is given in corporate wellness programs promotes healthy lifestyle choices such as eating habits, exercise, and stress management. As all-encompassing as this information may be, the traveling employee needs specific education around making healthy eating choices on the road; exercising when time and space are limited; increasing energy; healthy flying; self-care; and immune system protection. In short, travelers have to receive relevant information that translates into implementable steps towards better health.
5. There is a lack of awareness of the differences in programs. Those who are making the decision about which program is ideal for their workforce may not be aware that travel wellness requires its own strategems; thus the wellness needs of the company’s road warriors may be inadvertently overlooked.
“A travel wellness program is designed specifically to keep those on the road healthy,” says Jayne McAllister, founder of Jayne McAllister Travel Wellness and a partner in Global Business Travel Wellness Associates. “Business travelers are faced with unique circumstances. A well thought out travel wellness program that addresses these issues can truly make a world of difference.”