Is Bleisure Right for Your Organisation?
Recently published research highlights the opportunities travel managers can unlock by implementing a bleisure policy in terms of employee wellbeing and attracting and retaining the best talent.
A new Bleisure Travel Report by the University of East London (UEL) found that 78 percent of travellers questioned agreed that bleisure travel increases their wellbeing when they return to work.
Bleisure drives productivity improvements
HR professionals have known for some time that taking holiday entitlement contributes to improved morale and productivity. Research has shown that regular holidays contribute to improved performance, greater creativity and reduced stress.
The UEL survey, which was commissioned by London City Airport, backs up this existing research. 61 percent of the travellers questioned said that taking bleisure travel contributes to increased productivity.
Increasing demand for bleisure travel
Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, says the survey findings point to the new expectations of a new generation of travellers. He said, “We are seeing a generation of people for whom work and leisure are intertwined, and they’re applying that blend of business and pleasure when they travel.”
Over a third of those questioned admitted to having extended the business trip they were retuning from to include leisure activities. And 54 percent said they had at some time been joined by family or significant others on a bleisure trip.
How should businesses respond?
With an increasing demand for bleisure travel and real benefits for businesses in terms of employee wellbeing and productivity, forward-thinking businesses have a real opportunity here for a win-win.
Adapting HR and corporate travel policies to allow for the possibility of extending business trips with days taken as holidays doesn’t have a significant cash cost to the organisation, but has real benefits for the traveller and their performance at work.
Michael Spiers, Chief People Officer, London City Airport, said, “There’s a ‘quick win’ here for HR departments, by setting out those policies, which in turn can boost ‘bleisure’ travel, promote greater well-being and productivity, and show how much employers value the work-life balance of their employees.”
Secure real competitive advantage
Spiers continued, “This research suggests many businesses don’t have formal policies in place about when and how employees can add leisure elements to their business travel.”
Despite the potential benefits, 71 percent of survey respondents said their employer does not actively promote leisure travel before or after business trips.
Protecting travellers and the company
Travel Managers should work with HR to ensure that effective policies are in place to allow employees the freedom to extend trips while clearly defining the company’s liability. This may well require new policies to be created and articulated around behaviour, duty of care, and joint travel arrangements for family and friends.
Importantly, travel managers need to advise their business travellers about the need to ensure they are covered on their employer’s insurance policy or advised to take out their own travel policy to cover the leisure part of their trip. If a traveller has an accident 3 days in to their extended trip, whose insurance policy will be claimed against?
Offering additional cover through an annual opt-in benefit for travellers could be one way to ensure cover for the traveller and their significant others.
For more detailed advice about introducing flexible bleisure travel options in to you organisation, speak with your Travel Counsellor.
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