The Newest Trend in Travel? Travel as a Benefit

Everywhere you look there’s a half-price flight to Bora Bora or Las Vegas. Sounds great, right?! It is…if you are taking time off of work. More employees than ever before are taking less time off work. In fact, 70% of employees did not use all of their Paid Time Off days last year and 53% of Americans report that they haven’t had a vacation in more than a year. Why is this a big deal to employers? It’s simple. They’re facing increased employee burnout, less productivity and higher turnover rates. In an effort to combat this, employers are embracing a new trend in travel — Travel as a Benefit.
Generations
Millennials take a lot of heat. When it comes to the emphasis on travel as a benefit of work, people assume Millennials lead the pack in demanding more vacation time. It turns out that every age group is feeling the toll of long hours and increased feelings of burnout. According to Sylvia Francis, SHRM-SCP, Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, and even the newest set of travelers, Generation Z, are all looking for a better work-life balance, wanting to taking time off work to explore the farthest corners of the globe and spend more quality time with loved ones.
Health
Close your eyes and imagine yourself on vacation. Did you just smile? The happiness you feel while on vacation does more than lift your mood. Traveling has been shown to have a direct and positive impact on your physical and mental health by busting stress and improving cognitive function. One study found that women who vacationed twice a year were at 8x less risk of heart disease and heart attack than women who vacationed less frequently.1 Sure, a tropical trip might come with some risks, but the long-term benefits of your time abroad far outweigh a mere sunburn.
Productivity
Vacation means extra sleep and plenty of time to relax and recharge mentally as well as physically. While it may seem counterintuitive, “by serving as the least productive month for millions of workers, August unexpectedly serves as a productivity-booster.”2 Employees who spend more hours working suffer decreased accuracy and eventual burnout. When employees spend time away from work, they come back focused and their productivity and quality of work increases. The benefits of travel are epitomized in the saying ‘work smarter, not harder.’ Smarter, in this case, meaning don’t work — take a vacation.
Balance
Doctors, life coaches, and wellness programs stress a healthy work/life balance, which can be a conundrum for business owners. Of course you want your employees to be healthy, both physically and mentally, but you worry this could come at the cost of fewer hours in the office and seemingly less work getting done, right?! Rest assured, research that shows that when the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31% and sales increase by 37% (3) meaning that increased daily productivity will easily make up for any time spent out of the office.
Recruiting
Tracking down talent is one thing; convincing them to join your company over the dozens of others pursuing them is the tricky part. Travel (and it’s obvious benefits) is being used by more and more companies as an incentive to bring workers into their offices. In fact, the U.S. Travel Association notes that “in order to achieve the same effect of incentive travel, an employee’s total base compensation would need to be increased by 8.5 percent.” (4) When you offer travel as a benefit in your negotiations, it shows future employees that you not only care about their happiness but that you also care about their mental well-being and desire for true work-life balance.

Investing in travel for employees is not only good for their mental and physical health, but it also increases productivity and decreases burnout… and it’s good for your bottom line. As workers of all ages are beginning to value a greater work-life balance and experiences over material possessions it’s becoming more and more evident that employers are fully embracing Travel as a Benefit, making it less of a trend and more of an established sign of care and appreciation in the workplace.