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Business travel as a work perk

Study finds a majority of Canadians believe travel enhances their jobs
Business travel
Many employees actually look forward to business travel and see it as an attractive benefit of their jobs. Shutterstock

By Brian Kreissl

Last week, I really enjoyed reading my colleague Todd Humber’s post that was critical of excessive cost-cutting and penny pinching in organizations. In some cases, cost-cutting can be so deep and poorly thought out that it defeats the purpose and actually ends up hurting the bottom line in the long run or has other unintended consequences such as a negative impact on employee morale and engagement.

One of the first things to be cut in an environment of austerity is often business travel. While travel can be quite a significant expense, and businesses should try to reduce unnecessary travel in an attempt to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly, many employees actually look forward to business travel and see it as an attractive benefit of their jobs.

Travelling to places I wouldn’t have otherwise seen

I am really looking forward to my trip next week to Calgary, which has become one of my favourite cities anywhere. I was in “Cowtown” three times last year, and it has started to feel almost like a second home to me.

I love the architecture and the natural beauty in and around the city. I also think Calgary has some great restaurants and bars (including a thriving craft beer scene). People seem pretty friendly, and I love how Calgary has a big city feel without being gridlocked or so large as to be unmanageable.

I am also excited to be going to Winnipeg next week because it will be my first time in Manitoba. After that, I will only have Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to check off my list of provinces to visit (although I still haven’t been to any of the territories).

I took my first trip to Saskatchewan this past August when I taught in both Saskatoon and Regina. I liked both cities, each of which had a unique feel, and I also rented a car and drove between the two cities down a stretch of highway with very different terrain than what I am used to here in Ontario.

I have done quite a bit of travel over the past few years that I wouldn’t have done otherwise due to work. While I actually wrote about some of this previously, it was mainly in the context of “workcations.” But even when people are travelling just for business, they can enjoy themselves after hours.

Looking forward to business travel

I know that some people travel for work pretty much constantly and actually begin to resent it and long for the comforts of home. It can also be challenging dealing with childcare, eldercare and pet care obligations when travelling.

This can be a major concern for consultants, salespeople, trainers, executives and others who travel regularly for business. Many of these people end up living out of suitcases and find the novelty of travel has worn off. On the other hand, it is particularly important that employers ensure these “road warriors” are comfortable when travelling for business.

Nevertheless, many of us look forward to business travel and still see it as a novelty. According to a recent survey completed by Booking.com, nearly 55 per cent of Canadians said experiencing a new travel destination enhances their jobs and 48 per cent would incorporate leisure time into their business trips.

Clearly, travel for business can be seen as an important perk for many people, a way to provide a change of scenery and a means of expanding one’s horizons. When booking accommodations, the Booking.com study found it is important to ensure employees have a comfortable bed, a good Wi-Fi connection, a hearty breakfast and a good location.

But it isn’t all about enjoyment and relaxation. The study also found that 71 per cent of respondents believed meeting with clients and colleagues face-to-face is essential to business success.

While conference calls, videoconferencing, webinars and tools like WebEx and Skype can make some types of business travel redundant, there is still a place in many industries and organizations for face-to-face meetings, training sessions, conferences, tradeshows, demonstrations, seminars and working sessions.

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Brian Kreissl

Brian Kreissl is the product development manager for Thomson Reuters Legal Canada's human resources, OH&S, payroll and records retention products and solutions.
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