Impact on physical health: Challenges of work travel #1

Blogs about the challenges of work travel

Over the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to sharing a series of blogs about the challenges of work travel. Each blog will focus on a different challenge. I’ve written this blog series in anticipation of an upcoming workshop I’ll be facilitating for regional managers who frequently travel for work.

How work travel can negatively impact your physical health

This week’s blog focuses on the negative impact of work travel on travellers’ physical health as reported in several studies (Rundle et al., 2018 and Espino et al., 2001). The challenges to physical health due to work travel include the following:

  1. Lack of nutritious or appealing food, with exposure to fast food

  2. Exhaustion due to difficulty sleeping, long work hours or jet lag

  3. Not being able to exercise regularly and long periods of sedentary behaviour

  4. Increased alcohol consumption, sometimes scoring above clinical thresholds for alcohol dependence

Given these characteristics, it’s not surprising that extensive business travel is linked to higher body mass index, obesity, cardiovascular disease risk markers and lower self-rated health. It’s also not a shock to read that the more someone travels for business, the more likely it is they will experience poorer health.

How can organisations help?

Companies would benefit from investing in physical wellbeing for staff who travel regularly. One option can be to ensure that their employees stay in accommodation with access to physical activity facilities and healthy food options.

There is a positive impact on the bottom line for organisations and benefits to individuals who travel as well. Companies who make a change at the policy level to promote physical wellbeing during travel could also expect to see a decrease in absenteeism or lower productivity as a result.

How I can help

As a credentialed ICF coach, I’ve worked with previous clients on developing new habits. These habits have included making healthier food choices, establishing a regular exercise regime and setting boundaries around work hours. If you would like to find out how coaching could positively impact your physical health when you travel, do get in touch.