Por qué el bienestar debería ser un elemento clave de toda política de deber de cuidado

Publicación de blog del Comité de Riesgos de GBTA - mayo de 2021

With the entire business travel industry being turn upside down due to the pandemic, this is an opportunity for a fresh restart in every aspect of business travel, including duty of care and risk management.  There are many choices to be made right now and one of them is to either go back to how things were done before or to use this time to reshape duty of care across the entire business travel industry.

Ahora es el momento de redefinir el riesgo del viajero y dónde el bienestar encaja en el deber de cuidado porque uno de los aspectos positivos que hizo la pandemia mundial fue catapultar el bienestar y el cuidado personal al frente de todas las industrias, especialmente el mundo corporativo.

 

Pre-Covid Road Warrior Burnout Epidemia

Every company has a duty of care and risk management policy in place but there was a huge void when it came to wellbeing which is a huge mistake.  I guess the first question for companies to ask themselves is “what does risk mean to us?” If it only refers to missed flights, emergency situations, covid guidelines and restrictions, and the usual risk mitigations that ultimately keep travelers physically safe and help the company’s bottom line then, this article is for you.

Risk management should be anything that involves the traveler’s health, safety, and the betterment of the company as a whole.  Doesn’t that include productivity, company culture, mental and physical health, and work performance?  It should.

Before Covid hit, there was a soaring burnout epidemic among business travelers which ultimately negatively impacted the traveler’s overall wellbeing and work performance.  This directly effects the overall company success, or lack there of.

Harvard Business Review afirmó que "el agotamiento laboral representa un gasto estimado de $125 mil millones a $190 mil millones en atención médica cada año" y que "87% de los viajeros sienten que la calidad de sus viajes de negocios afecta los resultados de sus negocios" en su estudio de viajes de negocios de 2018 .

Entre la epidemia de agotamiento, los guerreros de la carretera luchaban contra una amplia gama de problemas de salud, incluida la obesidad, el aumento del consumo de alcohol, los malos hábitos de sueño, la hipertensión, el tabaquismo y, por supuesto, los altos niveles de ansiedad y estrés.

Con el tiempo, estos problemas pueden conducir a riesgos de enfermedades crónicas y pueden generar mayores costos para los empleadores, incluidos reclamos médicos más altos, menor productividad de los empleados, discapacidad a corto plazo y ausentismo, todos los cuales tienen el potencial de tensar o romper las relaciones con proveedores y clientes (Harvard Revista de Negocios, 2018).

“Almost 75% of the staff reported high or very high stress related to business travel” reported the World Bank Study.   It’s no secret that heightened stress levels can play a negative role on how we conduct business and reach our goals.

 

El riesgo de ser arriesgado

Because we essentially have a clean slate right now, that doesn’t mean that we can’t look at our past to help reshape our policies moving forward.   Since personal wellbeing was put on the back burner when it came to duty of care and risk management of business travelers, the burnout epidemic was born and lead to poor mental health, high turnover rates, poor company culture, productivity loss, and lost engagement.

Frequent business trips can be a threat to a person’s health and it has shown over the years through research.  The American Institute of Stress reported in a 2018 study that “work-related stress cost businesses $300 billion a year” and the World Health Organization stated that “depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact; the estimated cost to the global economy is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.”.

Burnout costs employers millions of dollars in lost productivity, low engagement, increased errors and more safety incidents which directly corelates with risk management (Harvard Business Review, 2019).  So why isn’t a traveler’s mental and overall personal wellbeing factored into every risk management plan?

 

¿Qué es el deber de cuidado?

Según TravelPerk, “el deber de cuidado es una política corporativa y un requisito legal que garantiza que las empresas se dediquen a la seguridad y el bienestar físico y emocional de sus empleados” y que “la gestión de riesgos de viaje es la estrategia que cumple con esa obligación. Es el plan de acción que brinda la atención que las empresas tienen el deber de brindar”.

Entonces, ¿por qué no se está haciendo más en lo que respecta al bienestar?

La gestión de riesgos históricamente involucró salud y seguridad, vuelos perdidos o cancelados, documentos y requisitos de viaje, accidentes, enfermedades durante el viaje, seguridad contra incendios, planes para desastres naturales, atención médica, evacuaciones, discriminación y acoso, violencia, manejo del estrés y ahora regulaciones y protocolos de seguridad.

Es un compromiso de una empresa cuidar a sus empleados y todo lo que ello implica y debe alinearse con los valores y necesidades de su empresa, lo que probablemente incluye el bienestar de sus empleados y el éxito general de la empresa. ¿No?

 

El problema

There has been a huge void in the traveler wellbeing approach, mostly because duty of care and risk management policies remained in constructed boxes and wellbeing wasn’t looked at as a risk.   But, times are changing, as are traveler behaviors and needs.

TripActions wrote in their blog about duty of care that “the importance of this goes much deeper than legal obligations, and in many cases your own standards should exceed baseline requirements”.  They went on to say that “duty of care is also a matter of realizing that employees’ physical and mental well-being is essential to your company’s success”.

El deber de cuidado debe verse como una inversión a largo plazo en capital humano que tiene como objetivo mejorar la cultura de la empresa y, al mismo tiempo, ayudar al resultado final (TripActions, 2019)

It’s time to think outside of traditional legacy concepts centered around risk and duty of care and consider traveler’s wellbeing outside of health and safety concerns.  After all, isn’t a person’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing just as important as their physical safety and whereabouts?

 

Es tiempo de un cambio

Los empleados quieren saber que su empresa los reconoce como seres humanos y su bienestar.

En la Guía Mitigate Travel Burnout Guide de American Express Global Business Travel, dicen que “vaya más allá de la información y las alertas de salud específicas del destino y eduque a los empleados sobre cómo tomar decisiones más saludables mientras están de viaje. Incluso los simples recordatorios sobre qué evitar mientras cenan fuera y los estiramientos/ejercicios que pueden hacer sobre la marcha pueden estimular comportamientos positivos”.

Cuando se trata del bienestar del viajero, va mucho más allá de las opciones de comidas saludables, las aplicaciones para viajes en avión, los gimnasios de los hoteles y los instructores de yoga y atención plena. Se trata de aprovechar los beneficios de bienestar comprobados de los viajes y de equipar y educar adecuadamente a los viajeros para un viaje de negocios exitoso que impacte positivamente tanto en sus objetivos personales como profesionales.

“It’s like training a business traveler like an athlete,” says Scott Gillespie, a business travel industry data expert.  It’s about teaching travelers to be responsible for their overall wellbeing while on the road and to get to know the traveler on a deeper and more personal level.  After all, the concept of a “personalized” experience is constantly talked about in the business travel industry but, what does “personalized” really mean?

Travelers seek empathy, compassion, and understanding from their company and those in charge of their business trips.   The role of the travel manager is evolving just like booking agents to a more lifestyle and guidance role.  “The travel agent of the future is an expert, a specialist, a therapist and someone to lean on” says Bonnie Smith, the GM at FCM Travel Solutions South Africa.

According to a 2019 Hilton Hotel survey on business travel, “46% of biz travelers say that their company doesn’t consider their personal lives when asking them to travel, 84% of young business travelers say that they cherish their alone time during business trips, and 73% report that they have a better experience when they spend downtime on their own”.  Companies should optimize on this information and help travelers boost their wellbeing while on a trip rather than deteriorate it.

Probablemente haya escuchado el término "viaje con propósito" en la industria de los viajes de negocios. ¿Qué significa viajar con propósito para su empresa? ¿Cuál es la intención del viaje de negocios incluyendo el bienestar personal del viajero? ¿Cómo puede un viajero sacar más provecho de una experiencia?

With the potential of fewer business trips in the future, it’s important to make the most out of each one and obtain the most amount of value in them.  Now, let’s dive into why and how travel can be used to help reduce risk while helping companies thrive.

 

 

El poder de viajar en nuestro bienestar

Travel has proven to improve our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing which is something that business travelers clearly need.  The healthier that we are both inside and out, the better we can perform in our jobs.

Studies show that travel has the ability to decrease stress and anxiety.  Resilience, cultivating gratitude, generosity, breathing techniques like meditation, slow-paced activities like hikes in nature are all things that are believed to lower stress, which are all things that travel brings.  Visiting blue spaces, meaning bodies of water, is important to people who are seeking to unwind. “We know this simply from analyzing people’s habits, in terms of where they tend to visit and what they tend to value. For example, we know that people spend more money on hotel rooms with sea views,” said BlueHeath in the Washington Post.  The BlueHealth project found that short but regular time spent in blue spaces, such as a daily 20-minute walk along a seafront, cumulatively boosts long-term well-being. Therapeutic landscapes like forests, mountains, and calming sea sides may help to decrease the risk of psychosocial stress-related diseases (U.S National Library of Medicine).

Traveling can inspire people to be more active by partaking in activities such as hiking, going for a walk in nature, exploring a new city, or swimming.  It can also improve your physical wellbeing by boosting your immunity, contrary to popular belief right now. “Travel exposes you to different environments which creates strong antibodies and boost your immune system significantly” said Matador Network.  The salty sea water is known to help reduce inflammation while the salty sea air can help improve respiration.  Also, fetting a daily dose of sunshine can aid in bone health through Vitamin D.

Traveling can help give your emotional and spiritual wellbeing a boost as well by building an emotional preparedness to be receptive of others while deepening compassion and empathy.  We all currently crave human and social interaction, both which are essential to effective business travel and our mental wellbeing.

 

Usar los viajes como una herramienta para sobresalir en nuestro desempeño laboral

Research shows that intentional travel can increase work performance, spark creativity and innovation, and increase the quality of our work. The changing of environments and engaging with new people with different perspectives and backgrounds can spark new ideas and build relationships.   Scientists say that travel makes you more creative by breaking creative stagnation and getting your creative juices flowing.  International experiences and fresh cultural scenes can also open the mind to creative thinking.

Travel introduces discovery, shared group experiences, a sense of deep learning, and the ability to unplug.   “You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you’re unplugged—and what your people have accomplished when you plug back in. I can personally attest, you’ll be a more confident and better leader because of it” said Jim Moffatt, the CEO of Deloitte Consulting.

 

Pasos a seguir

What do you do with this information and change in mindset around risk management and duty of care?  Here are some ideas to consider for your company.

American Express Global Business Travel recommends adopting a ‘bleisure’ policy and pre-trip health screening to better understand the traveler’s psychological wellbeing.  TravelPerk suggests that “a duty of care policy should research, document, warn, and train for any possible risks”.

Since travel risk assessments are already in place, think about integrating a more personal assessment to get to know the traveler on a more personal level.  Then, provide adequate and proper resources, education, and trainings to cover all bases including empowerment, wellbeing, rules, expectations, prevention, preparation, company culture, and more.  Remember, every traveler is unique and needs something different to thrive in their wellbeing and work-life.

Next, collect feedback and have effective communication with your travelers.  What is it that they truly need during their experience in order to reach their goals, and stay healthy and safe?  It’s also important to establish within your company whose role and responsibly it is when it comes to traveler wellbeing.  Is it the travel manager? Human resources? A wellbeing leader? A travel coach? Or a combination of people? Remember, collaboration is key.

Esta es una oportunidad para un nuevo reinicio en todas las políticas de gestión de riesgos y deber de cuidado para que su empresa pueda salir como líder y sus viajeros estén felices, exitosos y bien.