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Burnout Busters

How to keep your road warriors happy and healthy

By Astrid Van Den Broek

Patrick D. Doyle, the Toronto-based global director for American Express Global Business Travel Canada Inc., has a few tricks for staying well on the road. One is booking the room furthest away from the elevators. That way, his sleep isn’t interrupted by conversations going in and out of the elevators.

Doyle knows the consequences of business travel burnout on employees. “A fatigued traveller can lack focus and have potential health issues,” he says. Over at Vision 2000 Travel Group, Stephen Smith points to other effects. "If a traveller is travelling too often and not adjusting properly to their schedule, they’re not going to be as productive as they could be,” says the vice-president of marketing and communications.

Fortunately for corporate travel managers, here are four tactics to minimize travel burnout.

SCHEDULE WITH SMARTS
Work with the traveller to determine what works best for them. Doyle recommends a tight meeting schedule to limit trip duration. Also, where possible, bundle several destinations into one trip to avoid multiple excursions.

PREPARE POLICIES
The trick is developing travel policies accommodating both the occasional and frequent traveller—such as the number of days at home between trips. “You have to have a policy that accommodates someone who may be on the road for 30 to 40 per cent of the time,” says Doyle. “As an employer, you have a duty of care responsibility and you want to ensure you retain top talent who travel.”

WORK WITH A TRAVEL COUNSELLOR
They can help schedule flights and hotels to comfortably accommodate your employee. “So you can book departure times that may allow employees to stick to a normal pattern of sleep,” Doyle says. “If that’s not possible, they should look at things such as: if they’re travelling a red eye, ensuring they have extra leg room or platinum service so they can get sleep overnight.”

HELP THEIR HEALTH
Book hotels with health in mind. “Exercise and eating healthy on the road is important,” says Doyle. Look for properties with corporate health programs offering nutritious menus or a gym.

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