If you follow news related to business travel, you’ll find numerous references to the challenges business travelers are forced to endure, trip in and trip out: the increase in delayed flights, safety and security issues, lost luggage, the best ways to make travel arrangements, etc. But the one topic we don’t often see coverage on is the actual impact each of these variables has on a traveler’s ability to meet their trip goals.
I think we occasionally lose sight of the fact that business travelers do not get paid to travel; they get paid to accomplish something that necessitates that they travel. That’s what inspired the CWT Solutions Group Travel Stress Index. As travelers ourselves, we set off on a mission to try and quantify the impact of these travel variables on our ability to accomplish our goals—and I’m happy to announce that our mission was a success!
We started last fall by surveying more than 7,000 business travelers to determine if we shared some of the same opinions on what causes stress while traveling for work. We learned that there are clear variables that cause stress, some more than others (lost bags, limited internet connectivity, etc). We also learned that individuals perceive stress differently, so not all travelers are created equal.
Armed with this information we embarked on the second phase of our mission: to build a methodology for calculating the correlation between stress and productivity.
Earlier last month, we released our latest findings and outlined the process we used to evaluate each individual traveler and each of their trips independently, while simultaneously monitoring 22 various elements that make up each trip. These elements range from pre-trip planning, through the actual journey, all the way to filing an expense report upon returning home.This is what makes the CWT Solutions Group Travel Stress Index unique. We’re not just talking about how you make travel arrangements. We’re taking into consideration the impact of things that happen while you’re on the road, like delays or lack of an internet connection. We combine all these components—traveler demographics, trip details, and the 22 trip elements—to create a Travel Stress Index which can be used to gauge how that traveler’s productivity was impacted during their trip.
So what did we learn? Well, sit down if you aren’t already. We learned that stress during travel creates an average of 6.9 hours of loss productivity! That means that a traveler loses nearly 1 day’s worth of work for each trip he or she takes. Out of these 6.9 hours, 32% (or just over 2 hours), is controllable. In other words, by making some adjustments to how we manage the elements of these trips, we can gain 2 hours of productivity. It may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind this is per traveler, per trip. You start to multiply this over all the trips taken by an entire company and you’d be looking at some significant productivity gains—not to mention happier, less stressed-out travelers.
The challenging part is that each situation is unique, so I’m unable to give you a magic formula that will tell you how to improve your company’s Travel Stress Index. The good news is we now have the capability to figure it out! All we need to do is complete the assessment of your company using your travelers and your destinations to calculate your Travel Stress Index. Once we have this information, we can start to develop a plan to reduce stress for you and your fellow travelers.
I’m feeling more Zen already!