Doctor’s Orders: Travel More

Doctor’s Orders: Travel More

August 16, 2018

Stressed? Burnt out? Life’s stresses can be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being, and ultimately affect your performance at work. Research by Fidelity has found that low productivity is not only linked to employee debt, but much of that debt is from past due medical bills. We’ve written in the past about prioritizing human capital and the benefits of a healthy workforce. Implementing company wellness programs to promote personal care and healthy living, however, can be tricky and expensive. The traditional argument implies that investing in wellness is difficult to measure. Contrary to this argument, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and improvements in talent acquisition and retention are quantifiable benefits of a workplace that values employee well-being, and there is one scientifically supported tip to achieve this – travel more.

Travel is the best medicine. The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement studies, in partnership with the US Travel Association has identified a relationship between travel and physical and cognitive improvements. In their study, 89% of respondents reported a significant decrease in stress. Even just mere anticipation for a trip boosts creativity and prevent burnt out. Taking a break from the office to relax in an entirely new context does wonders for physical and mental health. A brief vacation from your work environment frees your mind from everyday responsibilities and complex long-term projects, actually increasing your effectiveness. After all, we require change in order to stay sharp.

Learning, productivity, and creativity are related to neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to delete neural connections that are no longer necessary while strengthening the necessary ones. In essence, our brains are sensitive to change. When you immerse yourself in new environments you engage in a form of open-mindedness that influences your outlook on life, affecting how you ultimately live and work. Travel influences self-reflection, self-care, and creativity.

Happy employee on vacation to improve wellness

For some, travel isn’t always a viable option. The average employee only has 14 vacation days, a limited budget, and families to take care of. On the bright side, a study published in the journal Applied research in Quality of Life found that even just planning a vacation can boost happiness and morale. Pre-trip happiness is even found to be higher than post-trip happiness. Setting aside a budget and planning a few trips each year is more than enough to increase wellness and boost your overall performance at work.

Companies seeking to boost employee engagement by boosting morale and wellness should consider instituting group incentive travel programs or individual rewards programs with which employees could spend earned points on hotel stays or airplane tickets. Incentive programs have a proven return on investment resulting from significant increases in employee productivity. With a vacation on the horizon and a points-based rewards system, there is no doubt employees will work harder knowing that their work will be appreciated and their trip won’t empty their bank accounts.

Company wellness programs that include gym membership, fitness coaches, stress management programs, and preventative health screenings are great, but can be complicated and expensive to implement; however, establishing a workplace culture that recognizes the importance of a balanced work and personal life with the benefit of taking personal time off to recharge is proven to boost overall wellness.

Need some help establishing a program? Check out our Great Escapes individual travel solution or  give us a call to discuss how group incentive travel or our Applaudit platform can support your initiative.