New research highlights toll of business travel on mental health and a need for more support from employers – TravelDailyNews International

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Anxiety, stress, and exhaustion are common; travelers want more support from employers.

NEW YORK – A recent survey of North American business travelers reveals that for many, work-related travel is taking a toll on their mental health, leading to anxiety, stress, and exhaustion.

The new research – conducted by Opinium* and commissioned by World Travel Protection (WTP), a global leader in travel risk management – underscores the importance of companies addressing the well-being of employees during business trips, when disruptions to routines and physical distance from support systems like family and friends, as well as jet lag and time zone differences, can exacerbate mental health issues.

Here are five important takeaways:

  • Business trips have increased in number and are more demanding. A substantial portion of business travelers (US 54%, CAN 48%) say they are taking more work trips this year than last and jamming more meetings into each trip (US 54%, CAN 43%).
  • Anxiety, stress, and exhaustion are common. The intensified pace of business trips appears to be taking a toll on travelers’ mental health, with one-third reporting feelings of anxiety (US 34%, CAN 32%), stress (US 34%, CAN 34%), homesickness (US30%, CAN 32%), and exhaustion (US 29%, CAN 34%) while traveling for work.
  • Women are more stressed, but men are more lonely. Women business travelers report being more susceptible to feelings of anxiety, stress, and homesickness during business travel than men (for anxiety US 38% women vs 31% men; CAN 36% women vs. 28% men); while men are more likely to report feelings of loneliness (US 30% men vs. 25% women; CAN 30% men vs. 18% women).
  • Many are turning to bleisure for relief. To increase happiness, many travelers combine work travel with leisure time. One in four (US 26%, CAN 26%) say they feel less burned out and stressed if a work trip allows for a personal day before, during, or after a trip, and more than two in 10 (US 28%, CAN 21%) say they would be more likely to stay at a company that allowed for this. Looking ahead, many (US 28%, CAN 22%) say they plan to add personal time to a business trip this year, but one in six (US 17%, CAN 20%) admit not knowing whether their company’s insurance covers personal time added to a business trip.
  • Business travelers want more support from employers. The majority of business travelers say their employer could do more to keep them safe (US 61%, CAN 51%), and six in ten would like their employer to check in with them more often when traveling (US 70%, CAN 58%). Just three in 10 (US 27%, CAN 30%) say their employer provides regular check-ins to ensure their safety and comfort.

Dr. Joel Lockwood, Regional Chief Medical Officer (Americas) at World Travel Protection, stresses the importance of supporting employees during business trips. “Organizations have an obligation to their employees when they’re away from home, both from a physical safety and mental health perspective,” says Dr. Lockwood. “Uncertainty and lack of support from employers can have a significant and detrimental impact on an employee’s mental well-being, potentially causing significant distress.”

He notes that travel risk management companies can support corporate travelers by providing pre-trip medical and country intelligence, which helps to set expectations before the trip. Other support may include encouraging daily family or next-of-kin video calls, downloading a wellness or meditation app to employees’ phones, and having a solid and well-communicated action plan in case of an emergency.

“Allowing for pre-travel workload discussions and giving employees opportunities to take a break during travel, where possible, are also crucial,” adds Dr. Lockwood. “Organizations that make a concerted effort to focus on their employees’ well-being while traveling maximize the benefits of business travel for both the employee and the company.”

*This release offers a snapshot of the attitudes and perceptions of business travelers from the US and Canada. Research was conducted by Opinium Research from February 1-8, 2024, amongst 1,000 adults who travel for business at least once a year in the US (500) and Canada (500).


Vicky Karantzavelou

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.




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