HOW TO AVOID THE HEALTH DRAWBACKS OF BUSINESS TRAVEL

For many, the prospect of travelling for work is a dream, and a benefit strongly considered when looking at joining a new company or taking up a new position. After all, business travel is a means to not only gain experience in different markets and meet and network with people from different countries and cultures, but it is also a means to explore new destinations within one’s borders and beyond without incurring the costs of a holiday.

There are, however, some drawbacks to constantly travelling for work – it can take a mental and physical toll, as found in a study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study looked at the associations between business travel and behavioural and mental health.

READ MORE: 5 quick & easy workout ideas for frequent travellers

The study found that increased business travel could be associated with “poorer outcomes”. Business travellers who were away from home for more than 21 nights a month were more likely to smoke, experience trouble sleeping and anxiety, be sedentary, score higher in alcohol dependence and show signs of depression.

The conclusion was that “employers should provide programmes to help employees manage stress and maintain health while travelling for work”.

There are travel practices employees can apply to help alleviate the impact of business travel on their health. Here are three:

READ MORE: Vusi Thembekwayo on business travel

Don’t miss your workouts

Always pack light exercise gear, such as running shoes, to squeeze in a jog in the morning or evening (and take in the sights), or even do some workouts in your hotel room.

Eat well, even on the go

It’s important to go for the healthier options when eating on your travels. Where possible, visit the local market for fresh fruits and snacks to eat through the day, as advised by Passport Health Corporate Wellness Services.

Minimise drinking on the trip

While drinking with colleagues on a work trip is a common enough activity and can have social benefits such as getting to know your team better in a relaxed setting, it can take its toll. Rebecca Watson of Sunny Sanguinity advises that one should “have a drink order planned in advance”, or “if possible, arrive late (skip the drinks and snacks) and leave early (don’t get a nightcap afterward)”.

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