Edited excerpt from The sad, sick life of the business traveller by A.W. of The Economist:
Researchers at the University of Surrey, in Britain, and Linnaeus University, in Sweden, have published a new study highlighting what they call “a darker side of hypermobility”. The “hypermobile”—largely but not exclusively business travellers— suffer from three types of consequence:
1. Physiological effects: Jet lag, whose direr, if rarer, potential effects, include speeding ageing or increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke; danger of deep-vein thrombosis, exposure to germs and radiation; less exercise and less healthy eating than people who stay in place.
2. Psychological and emotional effects: “travel disorientation” from changing places and time zones; mounting stress, given that “time spent travelling will rarely be offset through a reduced workload; isolation and lonliness due to the absence from family and friends.
3. Social effects: Marriages suffer from the time apart, as does children’s behaviour; relationships tend to become more unequal, as the partner who stays at home is forced to take on more domestic duties; friendships fray, as business travellers often “sacrifice local collective activities and instead prioritise their immediate families when returning from trips”.
(1) Thank you William Gadea, founder of IdeaRocket, for the tip.
(2) These costs suggest that companies should locate their offices to minimize the need for employees to travel frequently.
(3) Cf. The pros and cons of locating your startup outside Silicon Valley.
(4) When business travel is necessary, what are the ways to minimize its negative consequences?