Out on the road. Up in the air. Down in the trenches. And out of commission.
For road warriors who consistently travel several times per week, per month or per year to get the job done, business travel can be taxing both personally and professionally. Being away from home and loved ones on a constant loop of travel, meetings and business expectations can wear down your body – and your mind. Even seasoned veterans of eventually feel the effects of too much travel. So how do business travelers know when they’re burned out? And how can you cope?
Burnout signal #1: Physical exhaustion. Do you really need to go to that meeting in Phoenix? Would Skyping in be just as effective? Think about when your physical presence is absolutely required, and be honest about when it isn’t. Cutting down on the number of days you travel in favor of telecommuting will give your body a breather, while continuing to contribute to your team – from afar.
Burnout signal #2: A few extra pounds. If you’re feeling a little flabbier than usual, it may be because mental and physical stress is manifesting in your love handles. Gaining weight on the road is easy to do when donuts and fries tempt in airport terminals.
Thirty minutes on the hotel elliptical machine will become critical to your ability to focus, think critically and cope with stress. Make time every morning or night to dedicate at least half an hour to physical exercise. Stay motivated by changing your booking preferences to hotels with gyms, pools or exercise equipment. Your body – and your mind – will thank you.
Burnout signal #3: Skipping meals. If you’re so busy and preoccupied with work that you forget to eat, it’s time to take a breath, take a seat and take a menu. Start with the most important meal of the day – breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast will keep you energized through your morning meetings, morning flights or morning workouts at the hotel gym! If you want to be at the top of your game through your lunch meetings, start with granola, yogurt and some protein first thing in the morning.
Burnout signal #4: Homesickness. Staying connected to your friends and family back home is one of the biggest stresses for business travelers, particularly if someone is sick or young kids tug at your heart. If you find yourself moping in your hotel room, pining for your kids or your sweetheart, do something about it.
Flying your family out for an extended weekend is one option. But so is starting a game – try testing your kids on the geography, history or fun trivia of wherever you’re Skyping from. Or send your spouse a postcard from every airport you visit. There are simple ways to connect your loved ones in your travels – find them and implement them into your routine.
Burnout signal #5: Doing too much, all the time. While most road warriors are ambitious go-getters, there is a time and a place to say no to conferences, meetings or site visits. When someone else on your team is chomping at the bit to travel – let him or her. Burning out on business travel doesn’t benefit your team, your family or your health. There is wisdom in knowing when you need a break – and bravery in taking one.
What do you do to prevent business travel burnout? Tweet us @Concur and tell us your tips.