Traditionally, January is the month of wellness. With New Year resolutions at the forefront of people's minds, companies are also considering the health and productivity of their employees.
According to a report by CWT ERM, our energy, resources and marine division, there’s a growing recognition that workers need to be healthy to be productive and to do their best work. This underpins the attention employers are giving to workplace wellness programs generally, and it’s a particular motivation for employers to do more for the well-being of traveling employees.
After all, employees who are fresh and alert and feeling strong, despite the demands of their travel, are likely to make better decisions and be better leaders.
And with the U.S. unemployment rate around a 50-year low and labor markets tight in other parts of the world, companies are being forced to compete for top talent with more than just pay. They need to recognize that potential employees seek to work where they feel their well-being is valued and supported. Yet, some employers have a ways to go, “So far, only about a third of companies say they have a formal system to measure and report on traveler health and well-being,” says Peter Brady, VP Global Technology and Services, CWT ERM.
Here are three ways to prioritize the health of your workforce.
1. Shift your mindset
“As a society we’ve come to realize that it’s okay to not be okay,” says Anne Bridgeman, Director of Customer Group, CRM. It’s critical to align your workplace culture with a wider evolution and reflect that in your policy and communications. For example, in addition to destination information about safety and security, some employers provide mental health information, access to health amenities and technology, such as apps to track jet-lag.
2. Consider the impact of jet-lag and fatigue
“Employees who are worn down by frequent travel are more likely to make poor decisions and be accident-prone” Anne Bridgman explains.
Many employers in the energy and mining sectors, where safety culture is all-important, have made this connection, but many companies will find value in adding well-being to the program.
“If executives and senior managers are flying business class around Europe but workers making a long trek to reach an oil rig off the coast of Africa are flying coach, a company’s policies may not be properly aligned with its health and safety goals,” adds Stephen Burghardt, CWT ERM’s Director Business Development, EMEA
3. Measure and deliver
Metrics matter. It's important to survey employees to better understand how they are affected by travel-related issues such as fatigue, stress, and nutrition. Use the data to define targeted interventions such as changes in the design of travel policies or adoption of new tools and services to support wellness while traveling;
Find out more in 2020 Vision: A close look at the well-being of traveling employees.