Business travel is still seen as a huge work perk for many employees. It gives them the opportunity to get out of the office, network, see different cities and of course enjoy the use of the company credit card (strictly for business purposes of course).
However, according to new research, those work trips could actually be pretty bad for your health.
In the past, frequent business travel has been linked to poor long-term health outcomes like obesity and cardiovascular disease. However, new research now implies that factors like lack of sleep, poor food choices, more time spent sedentary and the stresses of travel could also be having a serious impact on travelers’ health in the short term too.
A study which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that as the number of nights away from home for business travel rose, “poorer behavioral and mental health outcomes significantly increased.”
The researchers found that people who travelled for 14 or more nights per month were at a higher risk for these symptoms.
It is important to note that this negative impact does not just affect employees. It also has a knock-on effect for employers too.
”Behavioral and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, poor sleep and alcohol dependence can create immediate costs through reduced employee productivity and performance, absenteeism, presenteeism, short-term disability, and possibly strained or severed relationships with suppliers,” the researchers wrote.
And it’s not hard to see why. Anyone who has been on a tiresome mid-week business trip with bad food and a terrible hotel bed knows how hard it is to get back into the swing of things at work the next day. The fact of the matter is taking employees out of their everyday routines will leave them feeling jaded.
While some business travel is necessary if employers want to cut costs (and protect their employees’ health) then they will seriously need to consider how many trips their staff members will have to take in the future.