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Business travel – an overlooked factor in work-related stress

Few would dispute the business, career and personal opportunities associated with travelling internationally for work purposes, but psychologists warn that business travel is all too often an overlooked risk factor in work-related stress.

This article looks at some of the simple strategies managers can use to protect employees’ mental health and wellbeing from the negative effects of international business travel.

Increase in business travel

In our globalised economy, the frequency of international business trips shows no sign of abating. Despite the popularity of technology such as Skype and conference/video calling enabling better global communication, the volume of international business travel has not reduced. Rather, most international business travellers reported in a recent economic survey that they continue to travel as much or to an even greater extent than three years ago.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics indicate that in 2016 there were 9.2 million business trips to the UK alone and around 25% of all entries into the UK were classed as business visits.

Of course, international business travel is not only good for global business — it can also offer great opportunities for staff, both personally and in terms of career progression.

However, when it comes to the downside of business travel, managers have in the past tended to focus on the associated physical health risks, such as infectious diseases, or, alternatively, safety issues linked to risks of terrorism, civil unrest and natural disasters in foreign countries.


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