Did you see this report on Top Causes of Anxiety for American Business Travelers?
I wish they had asked me and so many of my traveling peers. While these may be stressors on the actual day of travel, these are not the stressors that kept me awake at night either before or during a business trip.
With over 30 years of being a road warrior for the likes of Oracle, Deloitte and more while raising young kids, I have had a few stresses (make that a few thousand) during this time!
So what stresses me (and my traveling peers)?
Preparing the home front for my travels (Is there enough food in the house? School issues addressed? Rules while mom is away in place? Bills taken care of? Medical forms for any emergencies into the caregiver’s hands?)
Am I packing everything I need –in work materials, technology, clothing, prescriptions, food? And will it all fit in my carry-on bag?
Will inflight wi-fi work as I have unfinished prep to do for the reason I’m traveling (and how will I justify on my expense report why I needed inflight wi-fi?)
Will I be able to find healthy meal choices while I’m away -- and will my workout shoes really work out this time?
How do I keep everyone’s cold and flu germ away from me?
How do I get enough sleep when I have so much work to do both day and night?
Can I get my expense report done on the way home? Or will it be a month before I get back to it because I’ll jump right into the next assignment upon my return?
- How do I fit my life into just a few days at home each week?
These are the stressors that we business travelers talk about over a bottle of wine at dinner or while sitting in the gate area waiting for our flight. The stressors in this report may get a grumble out of us here and there (ok, maybe a big groan for a flight delay when we’re trying to get home) but it’s primarily the issues that affect us, our time, our health and our family that raise the stress level when travel for business is involved.
And it is these stressors that I always felt I had to handle on my own. No advice came down from management, my internal travel departments, HR or any business-traveling mentors. And it was these stressors that caused me to raise my hands in surrender when my kids became teens and say “Enough! I’m quitting and taking a local job.”
It is also these stressors that got me putting fingers to the keyboard late at night in hotel room around the world to write the words that could possibly help another business traveler deal with each of these stressors. Yes, Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel With Confidence! was written to exactly help with the topics of conversation I heard each and every week in my travels.
Be the hero to your business-traveling employees or peers. When you share words of wisdom with them on these top stressors, the causes for anxiety in this report such as losing luggage or important documents or what to do when a flight is missed become much lower on the stress level scale.
If you’re not sure what their top stressors really are, ask! I know my manager, who I turned my resignation into on the day she was to give me a glowing performance review, wishes she had known my travel stressors had reached the breaking point before it was too late.
And if you’re that business traveler who does have a stress or two around each business trip, please share in the comments below what your top anxiety-causers are. If I have some words of wisdom written around it, I’ll be happy to share!