Achieving Work/Life Balance is Good Business Does Business Travel Have an Effect? Human Capital is Human • The most valuable asset a company has are its people, their skills & talents and their ability to turn it on when required. • People are intellectual, psychological and spiritual beings. Does Psychological Well-Being Matter? When PWB is at healthy levels people… • Learn and problem-solve better • Greater enthusiasm to change • Relate to others positively • Accept challenges more readily PWB/Performance Relationships Organizational studies have shown: Almost a quarter (23%) of variance in employee productivity is explained by: • Psychological well-being • Perceived commitment of organization to employee • Resources and communications Study showed a correlation between the psychological well-being of a person and performance levels. Travellers Face Unique Challenges Research shows for travellers versus non-travellers: • Long working hours eat into home / family life • Work carrying over into home life/blurred lines • Travel lengthens the work day Effects of Business Travel Time zone changes – jet-lag • Ircadian rhythm • Irritability & fatigue • Memory and brain (temporal lobe) changes • Concentration & alertness • Blood pressure, heart rate Cortisol Effects of Business Travel Pre/during and Post-Trip Events • Travel anxiety and anger • Respite and benefits Work stressors • Autonomy & Control • Work relationships • Resources and communications • Work overload • Work life balance Travel Affects Psychological Well-Being Research shows for travellers versus non-travellers: • General medical claims are generally higher for travellers • Psychological illness claims are also 3 times higher • Claims from spouses of travellers are 16% higher • Young children are negatively affected Source: Liese et al., 1997, Espino et al., 2002, Westman & Etzion, 2002 Travel-Specific Stressors • Duration of travel • Frequency of travel • Leaving on or before weekend • Rest & recuperation upon return • Perceived control over where and when travel occurs • Perceived ability to refuse without jeopardizing career • Travel experiences contributed by quality of services, etc. Travel-Specific Areas of Focus Companies should pay immediate attention to: • Frequency – need for travel • Family – specific to each employee • Flexibility – telecommute opportunities • Travel experiences – review suppliers • Travel policies – practices governing travel, entitlements, etc. Consider Travel Predictors of Poor Work-Life Balance • Significant family responsibilities • Interference with weekend & spare time • Lack of freedom to travel at convenient times • Transit through airport More Evidence Frequent Flyer magazine polled 638 readers in 2004 on how they coped with the complexities of life on the road and balancing them with the need to stay human. Frequent Travellers Don't Enjoy Business Travel • 24 percent like it • 69 percent deem it a necessary evil • 13 percent downright dread it My Conclusion: Business travel is to a large extent tolerated by most employees (82%). What is Driving Business Travel? • Global economies – competition, clients‟ expectations, 24 X 7 business, etc. • Communications technology – more relationships being made • Quarterly earnings reports – shorter cycles • Age of workers – younger workers willing to travel drive so older workers keep up • Company‟s service culture – „encouraging‟ frequent face-to-face meetings • Availability of travel services – increased air travel capacity, improved services, etc. What’s Aggravating the Situation? • More time spent at airports and the stress related to being in them • Company issue of PDAs means no downtime for travellers • Downsized workforce means upsized responsibilities Challenges obstructing positive work/life balance • The highest rating issue was “increased work demands are overshadowing personal needs”, at 76% overall. • The next biggest hindrance to cultural change was “leaders who find it difficult to change their views about the value of flexible working” - 69% of organizations. • Another key challenge is leaders who do not have the competence to manage the demands of business and staff with work/life issues – 60% of organizations Source: The Work/Life 2006 Balance Benchmarking Survey Are travel policies disconnected from HR policies? • Probably the most important factor in the progress of work/life initiatives is the extent to which they are seen as strategic to the organization‟s achievement of its objectives. • Again, this view is still not the norm (only for 31% of organizations), but it is higher than for last year (26%). What Can We Do To Achieve Better Balance? • Evaluate potential cost to the business • Conduct survey to understand the real issues among various traveller segments • Discuss main points with travellers • Identify weak points in travel policy • Discuss with HR and senior management • Amend travel policy accordingly • Review on regular basis using surveys The World Bank: A Case Study Main issues facing travelling employees: • Jet-lag and exhaustion • Impact on health • Family disruptions • Compromised work effectiveness The World Bank’s Response • Action taken to alleviate work/life imbalance • Matching through scheduling software of employees with right skills in close proximity of client • Overnight travel rewards – time off or cash compensation • Use of advanced technology to reduce travel • Use contract resources for extended on-site assignments • Creative travel arrangement – spouse accompanying employee for travel over weekends • NOTE: The World Bank made conscious efforts to communicate to its road warriors its appreciation of their service and the offers of the Road Warrior Programme designed for them. Your Turn Now? Group Learning Take time to think about it Share your thoughts Ask questions Offer your responses Question 1 What major difficulties do you anticipate with efforts to align a company‟s travel policy with work/life balance concerns? Question 2 What impact would work/life balance initiatives have on a company‟s travel cost-management/reduction goals? Question 3 If you were to receive instructions from the top to incorporate work/life balance objectives into your travel programmes, what do you think would be a practical plan to accomplish it and which departments would you collaborate with?
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