Risk-taking and emotional exhaustion side effects of biz travel

Just over a third of international business travellers are more likely to engage in risky behaviours while on the trip, according to research commissioned by the International SOS (iSOS) Foundation, and done in partnership with Kingston University, and Affinity Health at Work.

Kai Boschmann, director, International SOS Foundation, said: “The business opportunities associated with international travel are undisputed, but research suggests that frequent travellers make three times as many claims for psychological treatment compared with those who don’t travel on business regularly.” To improve business productivity and fulfil duty of care in a sustained way, Boschmann said organisations needed to understand how they could protect the mental health and physical wellbeing of their employees during travel.


Risky business

Of the respondents, 67% reported increased job engagement as a result of business travel. Despite this, 34% of international business travellers said they were more likely to engage in risky behaviours while travelling (compared with when they stayed at home). For example, 46% admitted to consuming more alcohol when on a business trip; 35% said they were more likely to visit bars and nightclubs; 33% said they would travel to areas, not knowing whether or not they were safe; 9% reported that they would be more likely to start a sexual relationship with a new sexual partner/s; 2% said they were more likely to have unprotected sex, and another 2% said they were more likely to use drugs than when they were at home.

“This trend is particularly evident among the younger, less experienced employees,” a statement released by iSOS said. “The study shows that this may be the result of lowered inhibitions; the majority (75%) agree that they see business travel as an opportunity for adventure and exploration, and, for 59%, it’s an opportunity to enjoy freedom from home life.”

Professor Robert Quigley, senior vice president and regional medical director at International SOS commented: “It is clear that organisations must bridge a risk-awareness gap by educating travelling staff about the potential health and safety risks they face when away from home, before it has an impact. This can play a critical role in helping international business travellers be better protected themselves and keep business aims on track.”


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