Business Travel Is Bad for Your Personal Life

business trip travel arbitrage magazine maya sokolovski

via Flickr, by Jay Allen

Business travel is becoming increasingly unpopular, recent findings show, with the majority of Americans holding a negative view of it. According to a survey conducted by virtual services company ON24, a full year is spent on business travel over the course of a career averaging 40 years in duration, and that year spent on travel supposedly takes a toll on a traveller’s personal life.

The survey that questioned more than 2000 American adults found that 94% of Americans believe that people who were away from home to attend business conventions and trade shows were more likely to engage in such “bad behaviours” as drinking too much alcohol, eating fattening foods and cheating on a spouse.

Other negative consequences of too much time spent away on business that those surveyed found particularly striking were:

  • heightened stress (with 75% of respondents citing this)
  • failed relationship or marriage (70%)
  • health problems (63%)
  • rebellious children (54%)
  • overspending (54%)
  • straying from an exercise routine (43%)
  • going to bed late (42%)
  • using illicit drugs (31%)

Furthermore, 85% of Americans feel that their work life impinges on their personal life, with the main distraction culprits being business emails and phone calls outside of work hours, greater employer demands in a poor economy, working overtime or on weekends and long hours in general.

Denise Persson, ON24’s Chief Marketing Officer, said, “These results illustrate that Americans believe their work-life balance is out of whack, and that fuels their growing dislike for business travel, their resentment and their desire for control of their own lives and how they spend their time.”

ON24 also gathered a number of accounts of incredibly bad experiences of business travel, and had respondents rank these events according to how outrageous they found them. The most outrageous stories involved checking into a hotel room and finding a large man, naked and asleep, on the bed; receiving an unsolicited delivery of illicit drugs to your hotel room; and getting food poisoning from a food counter at an airport.

While the survey only looked at attitudes about travelling for business, and only skims over what actually happens on these work-vacations, it still holds merit as a barometer of an important workforce trend. Clearly, business travel is no picnic; it may be better to go on a proper vacation rather than leave town for work reasons. Apart from that, there are alternative solutions to the business travel problem. Individuals can attend events from the comfort of their own home or office via webcasting technology; this not only brings the probability of “bad behaviour” down to 0%, it also saves time and expensse, and reduces one’s carbon footprint. With employers still suffering from blows dealt to their companies by the bad economy, one can safely say that fewer business trips are being taken these days than in years prior. And as the above findings show, this is probably a good thing.

Word Count: 481; Arbitrage Magazine

September 2, 2012:

editor writer


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