What comes to your mind, when you think about business travel or business trips? If you are a novice in this, I assume you would feel excitement. Business travel may sound like a great opportunity to get out of your daily routine, visit new places, meet with new colleagues and do some sightseeing, all of which at the employer’s expense J. Now, if you are a frequent business traveller already, I would argue that you might rather think about all the downsides of it: airport waiting lines, fast food, long working days and boring evenings in the hotel rooms, which start looking the same irrespective of your whereabouts…
Although the picture I have just depicted may seem a bit too dramatic, the downsides of business travel are inevitable. Yet, as business trips continue to be a common practice in big multinational companies, solutions seem to be emerging. One is called ‘bleisure’, or “bizcation”, or “workcation”, all of which imply the combination of business trips with some personal vacation or leisure time. As noted in Skyscanners’ blog article, according to several field surveys, bleisure is a growing trend among business travellers, and especially millennials. Employees’ motivation is quite obvious I guess, but what’s in it for companies?
A recent Forbes article suggests companies to encourage bleisure trips more, as it brings benefits not only to employees, but also to employers. The main reason to incorporate bleisure into companies’ travel policy is simple: a happy employee is a better employee; a happy employee stays in the company. Hence, we are speaking about motivation, engagement and retention here. Apart from the aforementioned though, extending the duration of a trip can actually help companies to save some money, by avoiding peak time fares and receiving discounted prices for longer stays in hotels.
Seems like a win-win situation? Quite possibly, but only if well managed. I believe we all know how even an ordinary vacation might get messed up because of all the unfinished work stress, right? Well, bleisure may be no different. In order to avoid extra stress and burnout with this seemingly beneficial initiative, I would argue that both company and employee should put some thought and planning into this. If the company provides an opportunity for extended stays for leisure, it is also the employer’s duty to respectively manage subordinates’ workload while on a trip. In this sense, ‘doing as much as physically possible’ while visiting a foreign subsidiary is not a good plan. Moreover, a company could arrange for housing opportunities, which make access to the city centre or main attractions (based on employees’ interests) easier. From the employee’s standpoint, you need to plan ahead (e.g. make theatre reservations; plan for places to visit), as well as stick to keeping this strict work-leisure balance… at least for this short period of time 🙂