How much does stress cost your company? The European Commission estimates that stress adds $26 billion to the annual cost of doing business within Europe, an amount Carlson Wagonlit said comes to between 3% and 4% of revenues for most companies.
That’s why CWT is developing a Travel Stress Index designed to help clients reduce traveler stress, increase productivity and increase the return on investment in business travel.
Interest in the marketplace
“We see a real interest in the marketplace,” Vincent Lebunetel, senior director of the CWT Solutions Group for Europe, Middle East & Africa told Travel Market Report. “There is a tremendous interest in everything that is related to corporate social responsibility and duty of care.”
The Travel Stress Index “will quantify to the organization the cost of stress to travelers and bring recommendations to the company,” he said,
“When we travel, we need to be productive; our company is paying us to be productive. The Travel Stress Index is a way to bring that topic to the table. Companies need to realize that there is more than just the direct cost of travel involved.”
Work in progress
In developing the Travel Stress Index, CWT is surveying its own road warriors and frequent travelers for several large international clients over the summer, Lebunetel said. Initial results should be ready by September.
At the same time, designers are creating an algorithm to combine traveler input, client travel data and public data such as airline on-time statistics and geopolitical data for various destinations. An initial version of the Travel Stress Index is expected to be ready for internal use and limited client rollout by late 2012 or early 2013.
Reducing stress, increasing productivity
The cost of stress to a company is an easy concept to convey, according to Joel Wartgow, senior director for CWT Solutions Group Americas.
In the sales context, for example, companies accept that face-to-face meetings can be more productive than other types of sales communication, he said. The goal is to make the sales trip even more profitable by reducing traveler stress and increasing traveler productivity.
“It’s not just about making the trip,” Wartgow explained. “It’s about how the trip is handled from the time the individual determines they need to go through the return.
“Say it is to a destination where visas and vaccinations are required. How can we support the traveler to manage the stress level throughout the duration of a trip to help that traveler be more productive? That’s a way to present the value of the Travel Stress Index.”
Managing travel stress also plays into compliance. Road warriors who see companies actively working to reduce the stress of travel by adjusting policy are more likely to adhere to policy, Lebunetel noted.
That helps companies reduce the overall travel spend as well as increase traveler productivity, he added.
Retains existing talent
Another benefit to reducing travel stress is in employee retention, according to Wartgow.
“There is a cost associated with recruiting new talent,” he said. “Can we reduce that cost by retaining existing talent through an investment in reducing stress?
“It’s not just about the bottom line any more or the travel spend. It is about how reducing stress impacts the way employees conduct themselves in the marketplace, how it impacts our ability to retain top talent. There is a snowball effect at work.”