If you love to travel for work, one of the most thrilling sounds in the world is your captain’s voice over the intercom when your plane makes its final descent to your destination. But not everyone has a soft spot for combining business and travel.
While being a nomadic worker may seem alluring, employees aren’t always fulfilled by the lifestyle. In fact, an independent study by TSheets found, while most people who travel for work do so to improve their career and visit new places, 27 percent said they simply do it for the money.
Among those findings, the survey also uncovered concerns about the impact travel has on an employee’s personal life and health:
- Employees admitted being away from their loved ones is the worst part of traveling for work.
- 23 percent of employees said they don’t like that their job keeps them away from their family.
- 13 percent of employees said they’re bothered by sleep disruption.
- 11 percent of employees said their diet suffers when they travel.
- 5 percent of employees said they miss being able to work out regularly.
- 9 percent of employees dislike the long hours they have to put in when traveling for work.
- 9 percent of employees resent having to pay work-related expenses up front.
Without a doubt, traveling for work can be downright taxing. Keeping your employees happy on the road is also, in itself, a challenge. But recruiters must be diligent in asking the right questions to candidates if they want to hire and retain the best employees for the job. Aside from questions about experience with work-related trips, try asking these four questions to candidates whose responsibilities will include travel.
1. “Why do you want to travel for work?”
Every person takes a job with travel requirements for different reasons. So a potential employee’s answer to this question might make a difference in whether they’ll be a good fit for the role.
If they want to do it because it is good for their career, like 36 percent of the employees surveyed, or they want to do it because they just love to travel (34 percent of respondents answered this way), the odds of them continuing to work and travel are better.
Research indicates these groups are much more likely to do the same amount or more work-related travel in the future. If a candidate’s answer is related to pay, however, they may not be the best fit. This group, the 27 percent mentioned above, said they expect to do less work-related travel in the future.
2. “What is your plan to stay healthy on the road?”
Health issues are a concern for many mobile workers. Thirteen percent of survey respondents said sleep disruption is a problem, while 11 percent said they don’t stick to a healthy diet while traveling. And 5 percent said they miss working out regularly due to travel.
If employees are unhealthy, they won’t do their best work. And unhealthy habits on the road can even result in burnout. While you can — and should — set up your employees in hotels with fitness centers and healthy food options, if you don’t hire someone who has a plan for self-care, you risk losing them to a more grounded role.
3. “What are some of your stress-management techniques?”
Even if 23 percent of employees who travel for work said missing their families is the hardest part about it, the long hours alone can be a major cause of stress. If your candidate lacks a solid foundation for stress management, they might not be suited for time away from their kids or late nights in a new time zone.
Many businesses that have traveling employees are accustomed to offering a benefits package that factor stress management. If your company has such benefits, it would be useful to bring it up in the interview to gauge interest. The best candidates will either have a plan in place or be interested in exploring their options for managing job-related stress.
4. “Are you accustomed to using mobile apps to track time, locations, and projects on the road?”
Keeping neat records while on a business trip isn’t a strong suit for American employees. Only 25 percent of survey respondents said they keep a record of the hours they work, and only 22 percent said they keep a record of the places they travel.
This could be a liability for your company, as new legislation could require employees determine time spent in other states for tax purposes. Unless their employers use a system to track the times and locations for work performed, this information is left to the discretion of the employee.
Don’t leave anything to guesswork. Help your employees have a better travel experience by offering them tools to help them take conference calls, track and enter job-related expenses, and track their hours worked in each location.
Traveling for work is more enjoyable than not
Despite challenges, 70 percent of employees still said they enjoy traveling for work. For recruiters, it’s important to find employees who are passionate about travel and their career, can maintain a good work-life balance and healthy habits on the road, and are open to adopting new technology.
About the author: Kim Harris is a copywriter and blogger based in Boise, Idaho, who has been putting her journalism background to good use telling stories and helping businesses grow since 2008. When she’s not writing at TSheets, you’ll find her freelancing, queuing up entertainment, and plotting her next escape.