Traveling for work has its upsides and downsides.
If done right, the act of traveling — even for work — can be stress-reducing, informative, and refreshing. Breaking routine within the context of work can give employees a better perspective on their own place within the company and inspire them to take greater ownership of their responsibilities, especially when sitting in a room with co-workers and managers with whom they typically only interact digitally.
But the stress of traveling for work can also — and often does — counterbalance the productivity gains that the travel was intended for in the first place. Travel can disrupt family life and interrupt team-driven projects and processes. It also takes its physical toll on the traveler, with shifts in sleeping and dietary patterns that then need to be readjusted upon return.
It’s important to take care of your travel-heavy employees so they can reap the benefits of travel while mitigating negative side effects. Here are seven ways to do just that:
1. Eliminate friction
One of the major scourges of the modern travel experience is waiting in endless lines. By enrolling your travelers in TSA Pre✓® or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program, you can demonstrably improve the beginning and end of every trip for every employee. Another advantage of this is (if they’re traveling on workdays) they will be able to more quickly resume work in the airport terminal if they’re waiting in line for 5 minutes instead of 45.
2. Make working on the road convenient
Speaking of which: There are two on-the-road productivity/morale killers that can be easily avoided: lack of WiFi and no access to power outlets. You can reduce friction on the road by either providing a WiFi hotspot or qualifying hotspots as expensable—there’s no better way to kill work mode than running around an airport or hotel or unfamiliar city hoping to find free WiFi! And for the no-outlet problem, a portable laptop charger can be a great option.
3. Let them reap the points and rewards
Travel-heavy employees likely sign on for their jobs because they actually enjoy traveling, and, historically, one huge benefit of the role has been collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points for personal use. Many companies are now centralizing travel expenses, and the benefit of cheap or free personal travel is disappearing. To an extent, this is an understandable, money-saving strategy for companies to adopt, but travel rewards have come to be an expected perk. Adopting or maintaining this benefit is not simply about making employees comfortable; it’s about employee retention.
4. Adopt some flexibility for weekenders
Travel for work equals work, even if it’s on a weekend. Maybe an employee worked all week away from home and fly back on a Saturday morning. Or they’re flying in on Sunday night to start their full workweek bright and early Monday morning. Flexible hours and remote work options are a great way to go easy on employees, give them a chance to recharge, and demonstrate that you value their time and energy.
5. On-the-road emergency support
Unfortunately, travel worst-case scenarios aren’t WiFi or elbow room–related. Car breakdowns and medical emergencies happen all the time, but the damage can be mitigated. That’s why all employees—especially those who travel for work, but also those who don’t—should be offered benefits like discounted emergency services and roadside assistance.
6. Medical access anywhere
Catching a bug, running out of essential prescriptions, or something more worrisome is not unusual for someone who’s constantly on the road. Offering affordable access to on-call medical professionals via app or telephone will allow your employees to take preemptive care of themselves. Someone who travels a lot for work isn’t going to put medical visits at the top of their at-home to-do list until a condition gets much worse, so giving them on-the-go access benefits the employer as much as it does the employee.
Offer more with Travel-friendly benefit packages
Benefits like the Alliance Value Plan from Alliance Direct Benefits can be a great way to ensure your mobile workforce feels supported on the road. You can increase efficiency by accommodating employees with a range of affordable travel benefits. The Alliance Value Plan gives members access to 24/7 roadside assistance, telemedicine and global emergency services. Knowing their protected while away from home means happier, more productive travel.
The Alliance Value Plan is available for individuals, families and groups. For group sales information, contact your benefits broker or learn more about Alliance for groups here.