Business Travel Taking Toll on Mental Health: Stats

23 May 2024

Source: Business Travel Taking Toll on Mental Health: Stats, Gaurav Banerji , Meeting Spotlight, May 22, 2024

Mental Health
(Photo by undrey/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

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

The new study, conducted by Opinium and commissioned by World Travel Protection (WTP), 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 worsen mental health issues.

Here are five key takeaways:

Business trips have increased in number and are more demanding. A substantial portion of business travelers (54 percent) say they are taking more work trips this year than last and jamming more meetings into each trip (54 percent).

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 (34 percent), stress (34 percent), homesickness (30 percent) and exhaustion (29 percent) 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 (38 percent women vs. 31 percent men); while men are more likely to report feelings of loneliness (30 percent men vs. 25 percent women).

Many are turning to bleisure for relief. One in four (26 percent) say they feel less burned out and stressed if a work trip allows for a personal day before, during or after a trip, and nearly three in 10 (28 percent) say they would be more likely to stay at a company that allowed for this. Looking ahead, several respondents (28 percent) say they plan to add personal time to a business trip this year, but one in six (17 percent) 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 (61 percent,) and seven in 10 would like their employer to check in with them more often when traveling (70 percent). Just one in four (27 percent) say their employer provides regular check-ins to ensure their safety and comfort.

The survey was conducted February 1-8, 2024, among 1,000 adults who travel for business at least once a year in the U.S. (500) and Canada (500). Percentages reflect that of the U.S. respondents only.

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