Traveling long distances to meetings and conferences can take its toll on employees, and ensuring they have the right support on these journeys will affect the overall success of the trip. Providing travel support is something often overlooked by employers, but there is plenty you can do to improve the quality of your employee’s time on the road.
When faced with hours behind the wheel, we all have our preferences when it comes to passengers, taking a break, and navigation. Being unhappy or uncomfortable on a long drive can be a painful experience, so it’s important business owners understand how to make these journeys as enjoyable as possible.
Research by hire car insurance company iCarhire looked at the travel habits of 1,000 drivers, offering advice for companies looking to improve the quality and success of business trips.
Don’t ask too much of employees
The average time drivers are willing to spend on the road for business trips is nine hours. It’s actually recommended you spend no more than eight hours traveling each day, so businesses can make some adjustments here. Be sure you don’t ask too much of employees.
You should also be mindful of when you’re booking meetings. Employees should be given enough time to take regular breaks and comfortably meet their intended arrival time. Not being given the freedom to take their time and regularly stop will leave employees feeling disgruntled and stressed. This will affect the overall outcome of the trip.
Encourage regular breaks
The AAA recommends taking a break every two hours on a long journey. We can all be guilty of rushing to our destination and forgetting to stop, stretch our legs, and have a rest. Long spells without a break can lead to drowsiness and feeling uncomfortable. Encourage employees to take time away from the wheel, it’s important for their wellbeing and it shouldn’t just be a dash for an energy drink.
Drivers are currently not taking enough breaks when traveling on business; when they do, they’re stopping for the wrong reasons. The average length between breaks on the road is two hours and five minutes, with over a third (35%) stopping every three hours. When asked the reasons why they stop, 75% said for a caffeinated drink, with just 14% taking a break from the road for a nap, and 34% for a walk.
Having a 20-minute nap or a short stroll are two of the best ways to refresh and prepare yourself for heading back on to the road. Despite being time efficient, stopping for an energy drink won’t cure drowsiness or help you feel more comfortable getting back behind the wheel.
Offer company expenses
Long drives mean buying food and drink on-the-go. Service stations can be expensive, and the thought of using their own money to fund these expenses can leave employees feeling frustrated, as it’s not a cost they would expect at home. When asked why they stop on the road, 81% said to eat, 75% said for a caffeinated drink and 71% stop for fuel.
These costs can quickly add up, particularly when stopping at service stations. Reassuring employees that these spends don’t need to come from their own pocket can leave them feeling more positive. Providing basic expenses to cover food, drink, and fuel while they’re away is an easy way to support your employee’s on long business trips.
Provide means for navigation
Driving around in circles in an area unfamiliar to you can be infuriating, and this is no different on business trips. If finding the intended destination is difficult and stressful for your employees, their journey will be unpleasant and they may not arrive with the best mindset for a meeting or conference. Providing the necessary navigation might seem obvious, but it’s a simplistic way of avoiding stress and making sure the trip runs smoothly.
When asked about their preferred method of navigation, the two most popular answers were phone apps (47%) or using a built-in sat nav (17%). Providing a vehicle with a built-in phone holder or sat-nav will help your employees find their destination easily and leave them plenty of time to make their meeting once they arrive.
Although they may be seen as part of the job description, long business trips are an example of the length employees are willing to go for your company. Showing your support by providing the means for a comfortable trip will help employees understand that you value their efforts. It will also be beneficial to your business, as an employee arriving stress-free and in a good mindset to work is far more likely to find success in a meeting or conference.