Bleisure is a very annoying word, I think we can all agree on that.
It flops off the tongue and leaves both the person who’s said it and the person who’s heard it feeling like they need a hot shower. That said, the media has belligerently beaten it into our vocabulary, meaning that bleisure is looking less like a typo and more like ‘An Actual Thing’.
More and more organisations, and their travellers, are becoming comfortable with the idea of blending business and leisure and the idea of what constitutes a ‘bleisure trip’ is broadening; no longer does the term just refer to taking a few hours out of a business trip to relax and (*horror movie style scream*) leave the hotel, but it now involves tagging a couple of days of annual leave onto the end, or start, of a business trip.
Last year, research conducted by Bridgestreet Global Hospitality suggested that six out of ten travellers are more likely to take a bleisure trip today than five years ago. Further to this, a study held by the Collinson Group revealed that 72% of corporate business travellers bolt leisure days on to business trips and that 89% of organisations allow this style of travel – statistics that are in no small part due to leaping technological advances and employers’ increasingly progressive attitudes towards flexible working.
As with any new phenomenon, responses to the idea of bleisure trips have been both varied and tentative; for some organisations, and even whole industries, bleisure trips are completely out of the question, whereas for others they offer real opportunities to give something back to employees.
So, if you do decide to entertain the idea, what are the benefits of giving in to bleisure?
Financially, a bleisure trip makes sense; the traveller isn’t costing you any more by choosing to extend their trip, as you’re already paying for the travel, with the traveller then paying for things like extra hotel nights, or their companion’s travel costs. In fact, if your team member’s decision to extend their trip means that they can return at a less popular travelling time then a spot of bleisure could actually cause a reduction in travel spend for the trip.
As with most things, it’s not all about the money and the benefits of bleisure can extend far beyond costs. Allowing your team to enjoy some recreation time, away from their day-to-day tasks and targets, is a surefire way to increase employee satisfaction, as well as reducing the likelihood of ‘burnout’ and other stress-related health problems. Following that logic, a short burst of ‘R&R’ may return the employee full of renewed enthusiasm and productivity, high-fiving their way around the office – which is a benefit to both you and your team. Although you may regret it when you’ve listened to their mundane story about an old man they met in a bar for the fourteenth time.
Which brings us neatly onto the potential drawbacks of bleisure…
If you’re more traditionally-minded then you may find the concept of bleisure troublesome and be concerned that it is, essentially, a ‘jolly’ – time wasted when the employee could be working.
However, with an increasing number of organisations putting greater value on productivity and output, rather than hours worked, the primary concern with bleisure is whether or not you’re fulfilling your Duty of Care obligations. For example, although an employee may have clocked off and be enjoying the ‘leisure’ segment of their business trip, if they’re involved in an incident during this time then your business could be exposed to complications, as the reason for the outbound trip was business-related.
The only realistic, practical way to mitigate against these sorts of situations, however unpredictable and unlikely they may seem, is to explicitly address the matter of bleisure trips, whether that’s in a company-wide meetings or more formally in your travel policy. That way, both employer and employee know where they stand and what they’re accountable for.
So, what do you need to consider? Here are a few pointers from the experts at www.clicktravel.com:
– Should the number of days by which a trip can be extended be limited, in order to contain risk?
– Is there a distinction between business and personal expenses when employees take leisure trips?
– Should it be stipulated that employees will only be covered for travel that does not represent a significant departure from their original travel itinerary?
– In higher risk destinations, should employees be prepared to adhere to required aspects of the corporate travel policy?
– Who is responsible for travelling companions?
What’s right for your business and your team in terms of bleisure largely depends on the kind of company culture that you’re looking to cultivate. If you do decide that you want to dip your toe into the bleisure pool then one thing that will certainly make the process of adopting it into your business easier is the right booking tool; one that will allow you to control and approve the travel and trips that your team are booking.
To start using a booking site that’s easy to use, full of all the content that you’d find anywhere else and offers the ability to automate and customise approvals then sign up toClick Traveltoday