SURREY, England — Can frequent business travel be so influential that it can build up or break down a person’s mental health?
A recent study published in the journal Transportation Research Part D pointed out the “darker side” of business travel and its effects on employees. The study was a follow up to the previously published paper entitled “A Darker Side of Hypermobility” from 2015.
The new research, “The dark side of business travel: A media comments analysis,” examined 85 media reports on the study and reviewed 433 comments from the various articles left by readers.
While the initial paper explored how frequent travel can affect a worker’s health and well-being, the follow-up analysis points out that people either “flourish” or “flounder” in jobs that forces them to pack a bag regularly.
The study authors explained that when people are of the “flourishing hypermobile” type, the worker sees the frequent business travel as a part of his or her identity, and it actually makes them happy.
Conversely, when people are the “floundering hypermobile” type, they find that the burden of travel makes them less happy and can even endanger their health.
The report also concluded that many business travelers would like to reduce the amount of time that they spend doing it, but that many of them don’t feel like it’s within their control to make any schedule changes. Because of this, the researchers suggest that businesses have to be the ones to create policies that protect their employees from business travel that might be negatively affecting them.
“As more and more people are required to travel frequently for work, the impacts of travel on the workforce is an issue of rising importance on the public agenda,” says lead author, University of Surrey’s Dr. Scott Cohen, in a university news release. “In the next 10-15 years it is very possible that we will see lawsuits being brought against companies who don’t take actions to help reduce their employee’s business travel.”
Cohen suggests a company’s Human Resources department launch a “wellbeing strategy for corporate travel” if less travel isn’t a consideration.
An unrelated study published in recent months found that people who travel often were more likely to cheat or make immoral decisions.