With health care costs rising, obesity increasing, and various other chronic illnesses on the climb--there's little disagreement over whether wellness programs are needed.

In response to that, companies are bringing in consultants for specific trainings, providing online educational opportunities, and encouraging increased activity through stipends and incentives.

While these efforts are a sign of things moving in the right direction, there's still one key area being left unaddressed which also happens to be one that causes stress for many.  That one area has to deal with travel.

Why travel wellness is the missing ingredient to wellness programs.

Traveling on a vacation presents itself with an array of headaches but when you combine the elements of business, those potential headaches magnify.

Whether on the road or in the air, employees who frequently undergo business travel are taken out of their routines, pulled away from their families, and disconnected from their healthy habits.

According to a February 2018 Future Workforce Report, conducted by Upwork, nearly two-thirds of companies have remote workers. In a study from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) that was in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group, project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion.

A research study from June 2012 by AirPlus International in partnership with Business Travel Market found that a traveler's performance can be lowered by as much as 20 percent when traveling across time zones.

Adding up the long flights or long drives, the cost of not addressing business travel will be felt in every aspect of a business (not to mention each team members well being).

To get started on the path of incorporating travel wellness into the companies DNA, start with these two steps.

1. Create custom plans.

Health and wellness are far from being a one-size-fits-all endeavor. And it's with that in mind that helping each employee craft a plan tailored for them could be one of the most effective measures to help everyone involved.

Have solutions ready for integration such as sleep plans at the hotel, jet lag preparation, healthy food waiting for them upon arrival, and much more.

For those with allergies, make sure their room has allergy-free bedding. Many people suffer from stress, so massages and other stress relief plans would be something valuable to have written up.

2. Incentive with rewards and perks.

We may be adults, but the little child in us never goes away. Companies can take advantage of this by offering various rewards for healthy behaviors and choices. You're not forcing anyone to do anything, you're just providing a slight nudge in a particular direction.

A few incentives to help the brainstorming process is to provide an extra travel day to sightsee, provide gift cards to places of team members preference, spas, and much more.

A few simple metrics to use could be getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, choosing healthy restaurants, or getting 10,000 steps in each day.

Business travel and remote work come with a set of unique circumstances. Neither is going away anytime soon. In fact, they are only going to increase. Winning in business ultimately comes down to addressing the small (but impactful) areas and business travel is one of those.

Health is directly tied to a companies bottom line. With that said, if you're looking to craft an unmistakable company culture and ultimately thrive in the ever-changing business landscape, prioritizing travel wellness is a must.

Published on: Dec 21, 2018