New paper examines potential impact of frequent long-haul travel on employees
Despite general caution about international travel and significant advances in online conferencing technology, business travel remains an integral part of corporate life. Business travel spend is forecast to reach $1.6 trillion by 20201, but what are the responsibilities of employers towards their frequent flyer employees who could potentially experience health problems as a result?
In a new whitepaper entitled Business Travel: Good for Business, Bad for Health? MAXIS GBN examines how far employers should extend their duty of care to employees in this arena and whether they should provide compensation to employees who give up personal time to travel overseas.
Download the full paper (PDF)
The paper reveals companies believe that many tangible benefits from business travel remain in facilitating personal interactions, despite huge advances in technologies such as virtual reality and instant language translation. Benefits include a higher conversion of prospects to sales following face to face meetings versus alternative channels and insights into corporate culture that can only be secured by physical visits.
Yet the impact on individuals’ health can be serious, with a higher risk of obesity, exposure to higher radiation levels and negative effects on the immune system. The main problem is chronic jet lag, which can last for over a week after returning from an international flight. Jet lag can impair memory as well as lead to sleeplessness and even accelerated ageing.
Mauro Dugulin, CEO, MAXIS Global Benefits Network said: “The phenomenon of business travel shows no sign of slowing down – for very sound commercial reasons – and employers are increasingly aware that they need to consider the impact that frequent international travel can have on their employees. It’s not just the physical and mental health implications that they should think about, but also the impact on peoples’ home and social life.”
MAXIS GBN outlines six helpful tips for employers to consider when thinking about how to address the risks presented for employees by frequent business travel:
- Help employees to help themselves - Look into employee education programmes on stress management and strategies to help improve diet and activity while travelling.
- Create a corporate travel policy - Involve the HR department in ensuring that your policy is up to date and fit for purpose, including the ability to stay longer at a destination for some leisure time or taking time off in lieu.
- Create a travel wellness programme - Provide information about hotels, restaurants and airlines that meet corporate travel wellness objectives for healthy food and exercise.
- Use the power of technology - Huge investments are being made by the world’s leading technology firms into making it easier to take part in virtual meetings, events, conferences and sales pitches.
- Revisit work conditions - Revise terms and conditions to allow employees to work from home for the week following a long haul trip and arrange flights around minimum rest periods.
- Manage travel risk - Assign responsibility for duty of care and travel risk management, establish risk policy and processes and conduct pre-trip assessments.
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About MAXIS GBN
MAXIS Global Benefits Network (MAXIS GBN), co-founded by MetLife and AXA in 1998 is one of the leading international employee benefits networks providing global service capabilities and delivering world-class employee benefits perspectives and solutions to clients in 115 markets around the world. In February 2016, MetLife and AXA further strengthened their relationship by combining all of its MAXIS GBN existing operations under a joint venture company. This transformation helps leverage the existing strength of the network and its two parent companies while further enhancing the client experience, focusing on product innovation and providing data analytics.
The MAXIS Global Benefits Network (“Network”) is a network of locally licensed MAXIS member insurance companies (“Members”) founded by AXA France Vie, Paris, France (AXA) and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY (MLIC). MAXIS GBN, registered with ORIAS under number 16000513, and with its registered office at 313, Terrasses de l’Arche – 92 727 Nanterre Cedex, France, is an insurance and reinsurance intermediary that promotes the Network. MAXIS GBN is jointly owned by affiliates of AXA and MLIC and does not issue policies or provide insurance; such activities are carried out by the Members. MAXIS GBN operates in the UK through UK establishment with its registered address at 1st Floor, The Monument Building, 11 Monument Street, London EC3R 8AF, Establishment Number BR018216 and in other European countries on a services basis. MAXIS GBN operates in the U.S. through MetLife Insurance Brokerage, Inc., with its address at 200 Park Avenue, NY, NY,10166, a NY licensed insurance broker. MLIC is the only Member licensed to transact insurance business in NY. The other Members are not licensed or authorised to do business in NY and the policies and contracts they issue have not been approved by the NY Superintendent of Financial Services, are not protected by the NY state guaranty fund, and are not subject to all of the laws of NY.