The mental health implications of business travel are significant and should not be overlooked — especially by those frequently on the move for work.
Today’s globally connected business world is brimming with work-related travel once again, and that means the subject of mental health impact associated with business travel has become a hot topic in the business world.
Even though mental health is often overlooked — it seems the pandemic has impacted how we see and cope with mental issues. The recent research conducted by the Collinson Group brings good news: 73% of travelers worldwide indicate they will prioritize their mental well-being during travel more than they did before the pandemic.
READ: The Top 5 Ways You Can Support Mental Health in the Workplace
This global trend shows a growing consciousness about the importance of mental health in the context of business travel. On average, 38% of global business travelers pinpoint the journey itself as the most stressful stage of their travels. The constant upheaval and uncertainty that comes with travel can breed significant anxiety and stress, taking a toll on the mental well-being of business travelers.
For many in this dynamic circle, business travel is a routine part of life. But for others is an obligation they would gladly avoid. And although the pandemic lowered business travel by 27% on average — business travel is back.
Understanding its potential risks to mental health is crucial, as is learning to cope with these risks effectively. With this piece, we aim to navigate this complex terrain, offering practical strategies to manage potential hazards.
The impact of business travel on mental health
To begin, let’s unravel the concept of business travel and its potential negative effects on mental health. Business travel has its benefits, but it also often involves frequent movement across different time zones, living out of suitcases and high-pressure environments — all of which can easily trigger mental health issues.
Stressors inherent to business travel include long hours, hectic schedules, and constant shifts in time zones. Add to these the isolation from loved ones for prolonged periods, and the strain on mental health becomes more apparent.
According to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, business travel is connected with smoking, alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence, lack of exercise, poor sleep hygiene, anxiety and depression — among other issues.
READ: Mental Well-Being & the Workplace: Embracing Suicide Prevention and Awareness
Strategies for coping with the risks
Having a strong support system, both at home and in the workplace, is a vital coping strategy. A network of trusted individuals can provide much-needed emotional support during stressful travel periods, helping to maintain mental well-being.
Technology can also play a crucial role in maintaining connections with this support network. Regular video calls, messages and even shared online activities can help combat feelings of isolation, keeping loneliness at bay.
Another effective strategy lies in the practice of self-care. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits and adequate sleep can all significantly reduce the impact of stress and help maintain mental equilibrium during extended periods of business travel.
From an employer’s perspective, several measures can be taken to support employees’ mental health and well-being while traveling. These include:
- providing flexible work hours
- creating a workplace culture that respects personal time and rest
- allowing employees the flexibility to work remotely
- considering out-of-the-box measures such as a four-day workweek.
The value of flexibility and comfort
Interestingly, a private charter flight can significantly mitigate the mental health risks associated with frequent business travel. The comfort, convenience and flexibility of getting a private jet vs flying commercial can make business travel a less stressful experience, easing the burden on travelers’ mental health.
A large proportion of business travelers — 72% to be precise — value flexibility as a top priority when it comes to their travel arrangements. An additional 52% expect the freedom to book direct flights. With private jet travel offering both these benefits, it could well be a viable solution to reduce the mental health impacts of business travel.
Even though private jet travel comes with a price — it is better (and cheaper) to invest in health and well-being than cope with the possible serious consequences.
The Bottom Line
The mental health implications of business travel are significant and should not be overlooked — especially by those frequently on the move for work. Recognizing the risks and implementing effective coping strategies lessen these impacts and maintain mental well-being.
As we continue to prioritize our mental health, it’s critical to remember that the world of business travel can also adapt and evolve to better serve the needs of its frequent flyers. So, here’s to healthier, happier and more resilient business travelers.
Daniel Herman is a digital marketing and aviation enthusiast who is currently working as a content associate at Jet Finder- an aviation brokerage company. Their services include private jet rentals, medical evacuation flights, cargo flights, group charters, helicopter charters and more.