Frequent business travelers have an undue share of health problems
- Physicians at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Society of Travel Medicine say a range of health problems, from weight gain and insomnia to viruses, are affecting frequent business travelers, The New York Times reports. However, the doctors concluded that more research into business travelers' health problems is needed.
- Jet lag, a lack of access to exercise and fresh food while in transit, and periodic engagement with home likely contribute to business travelers' health problems, Lin Chen, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the Times.
- Dr. Andrew Rundle, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and co-author of the report, "Business Travel Linked to Obesity and Poor Health," told the Times that he studied his own travel habits and concluded that traveling a lot, eating poorly and no opportunity to exercise over a 10-year period leads to high blood pressure and diabetes.
Business travelers and salespeople belong to the category of workers known as "road warriors" because they're so frequently in transit. CultureIQ’s founder and CEO Gregory Besner told HR Dive in a June interview that these workers make 1.3 million business trips a day. Their susceptibility to stress and resulting health problems pose challenges for management.
Business travelers already have tough schedules, but roughly half work off the clock, too, according to a RAND Corporation study. And about 22% of all workers underreport their hours, a Kimble-Applications report shows.
HR can help reduce the stress "road warriors" experience by encouraging them to take off time to relax and regroup; promoting exercise and healthy eating; instructing them to take frequent breaks; and lightening their workload, if possible.