In the ever changing life of a busy Corporate Traveller and with the next generation taking centre Stage, the new ‘Millennial’ is getting more innovative in having the Work-Life Balance during their regular Business Travel, and wanting to go the extra way and explore the new destinations, country and city which they travel to. Companies are allowing their employees to extend their stay without compromising on the Company’s travel policies and entitlements. The constant engagement with the service provider and putting a request to provide travel arrangement for those extended stays are becoming a norm. A Travel Manger is therefore finding ways with the travel provider to meet this need and progressing towards Business travel, which is fast transforming itself to be a lifestyle. “Bleisure”, an overlap of the terms ‘Business’ and ‘Leisure’ covers intersection of business travel and leisure activity carried out by business travellers. An employee on a business trip would like to stretch it by a few days to chill out a bit, in some cases, even extending invitation to a significant other to join him or her paying only for the additional fare and extended hotel stay.Not surprisingly, the line between work and play is increasingly thinning out and looks hazy.
When it comes to travel-expense controls, travelling on the organisation’s dime can be pretty much sensitive. Decision makers would like to have an assurance that a trip is truly business-related and not a “boondoggle”. The difference threshold, more often than not, between necessary travel and leisure can be diminutive. Also managers don’t dare call it a boondoggle, though because of the financial shenanigans which business travellers pull with their travel.
Business travel allows travellers to expand their wings. Technological improvements along with time-saving conveniences allow corporate travellers to be more efficient while having bit of joie de vivre. The result: business travellers make the most of their new found freedom. Financially, it makes a lot of sense, especially when a traveller needs to stay from home for an extended period. Loyalty programs, nowadays, attract a lot of ‘bleisure’ travel as more travellers make use of air miles to fly their partner to enjoin them.
As meeting and board rooms impose limits, business travellers buck up in places off from the formal or professional settings to take a breather. Employees’ increased interface with the cultural settings of a place and the likelihood of less burnout come as benefits. Surprisingly, only few companies have stepped forward to define a business travel policy, considering the upward trend. Who is to do the planning? Who shouldgrant approval? Is it the CFO or the travel manager? Or is it a simple “don’t ask me” scenario?
It is often recommended that creating an environment that encourages open dialogue is crucial. It is an opportunity for corporations or organizations to welcome a new trend, infuse enthusiasm and create shared interest for travelling employees. Flexible working patterns and work shifts have made life easier for employees leading to enhanced productivity outside of the more traditional and formal work hours. By all intents and purposes, it’s a growing trend that needs to be formalized and integrated to really work.
What do companies need to do?
If the concept of bleisure needs to reap rich benefits, companies have to come up with sound travel business travel policies mixing business with leisure, without brushing aside the myriad of opportunities and benefits that come alongside with it. The challenge, however, lies in how they strike the much required balance between business or corporate travel policy restrictions and the way business travellers would want to comply with the policies. The potential of leisure-add on and welcome frills will offer opportunities to enhance value and ultimately benefit the travelling employees.