Though several recent studies indicate that workers are keen to undertake business trips, a new survey shows an increase in people’s levels of stress, burnout and anxiety while travelling for work.
Out of 200 international business travellers surveyed by International SOS and Kingston University, 45 per cent said they were more stressed on work trips, 31 per cent said they experienced emotional exhaustion and a quarter said mental health issues such as depression and anxiety were more prevalent.
A high proportion also reported physical health issues, with 76 per cent less likely to have a balanced diet or exercise and 73 per cent experiencing reduced quality sleep. A similar number said they worked longer hours while away.
“The business opportunities associated with international travel are undisputed, but research suggests that frequent travellers make three times as many claims for psychological treatment compared to those who don’t travel on business regularly,” commented Kai Boschmann, director of the International SOS Foundation.
“To safeguard business continuity, as well as fulfilling Duty of Care obligations, organisations need to better understand how they can protect the mental health and physical wellbeing of their employees while travelling.”
The research also found that business travellers were more likely to partake in what the survey defined as ‘risky behaviour’ while on work trips, with 46 per cent more likely to consume alcohol, 35 per cent more likely to visit bars and nightclubs, 33 per cent more likely to travel to areas they don’t know are safe and 9 per cent more likely to start a new sexual relationship. A more modest 2 per cent said they were more likely to have unprotected sex or use drugs than they are at home.
Nonetheless, 67 per cent of respondents also said they were more engaged in their jobs due to business travel, while 59 per cent said it was an opportunity to enjoy freedom from home life – probably the reason for all that risky behaviour.