Cultural changes come from the top down. Executives and HR decision makers must implement policy changes and take advantage of these changes themselves to encourage their road warriors to feel comfortable incorporating bleisure into their own business travels.
So, what kind of cultural and corporate travel policy changes should a company make to facilitate and encourage bleisure travel? We’re sharing the four changes that make the biggest difference.
But first things first, what do we mean by bleisure? Let’s make sure we all have the same understanding of the concept of bleisure before we begin.
What Is Bleisure?
Because there are many misconceptions about bleisure, we want to make sure we’re on the same page about what bleisure is and what bleisure is definitely not.
“Bleisure” combines the words “business” and “leisure” and describes travel prompted by business and extended for leisure, or business travel that maximizes pockets of free time for leisure.
The common myth is that bleisure is an excuse to neglect work and take a vacation on the company’s dime. This is NOT what bleisure is about. Instead, bleisure travel is taking advantage of the resources you and your company have already invested into work travel and maximizing your free time to experience the destination.
Bleisure leads to better work-life balance, improved work performance, and decreased employee turnover. It’s a win-win for companies and their employees.
Now that you understand bleisure and its benefits, let’s dive into how your company can help its business travelers embrace bleisure.
- Allow Employees to Book Their Own Travel
When employees book their own travel, they can extend business trips for leisure more easily.
Let’s say that Tim, an account manager at your company, must fly from your office in Atlanta to Dubai for a Monday meeting. If Tim were to fly in on Sunday night and fly back after the meeting on Monday night, he would be exhausted from the flight AND he would be battling jet lag. Ultimately, he wouldn’t be able to perform at his best during the meeting or back in the office.
Tim’s draining business trip could have been turned into a bleisure trip if his company had let him book his own flights. He could have booked his outbound flight for Friday after work, paid for his own accommodations through the weekend, and spent the weekend recovering from jet lag while enjoying Dubai. He would have felt well rested and ready for the important meeting on Monday.
Additionally, DIY travel booking lets employees take advantage of airline and hotel loyalty programs. This freedom helps them collect points to use on vacations or to extend their business trips. Employees appreciate the flexibility to choose their own flights and accommodations and they return from their business trip feeling exhilarated instead of exhausted.
How can you let employees book their own travel while ensuring that they stay within the company’s travel policy? Corporate travel booking companies like Teplis Travel and Lola.com have platforms that allow travelers to book flights and accommodations with flexibility, while staying within the company’s budget and policies.
- Provide Jack and Ferdi Premium to Staff
Providing your road warriors with access to Jack and Ferdi’s premium plan gives them a reliable resource to help infuse a little bit of bleisure into every work trip.
Our app provides bleisure suggestions - from authentic restaurants and sights to running paths - for popular business travel destinations around the world. Business travelers will also appreciate our local business etiquette tips, found within the app, when working with colleagues or partners from a culture they’re unfamiliar with.
- Embrace Remote Work Days
Enjoy bleisure without using up several vacation days to stay behind at a business destination. You can get the same benefits from bleisure just by maximizing pockets of free time throughout your day.
When your company embraces remote work daysand lets business travelers extend trips by working remotely from the destination that they traveled to for work, it’s a win-win for the company and the employee. Remote work reduces productivity loss and saves employees vacation days by letting them explore a business destination while they’re off the clock.
A business trip + remote work combination is especially useful for short business trips to faraway destinations, like Tim from our example who flew from Atlanta to Dubai for a day-long meeting.
Let business travelers take advantage of this perk as long as they’re not needed for an in-person meeting. Ultimately, it’ll be up to the discretion of managers to decide how much remote work time they want to allow their employees to have.
Make sure that employees who add a few days of remote work to a business trip understand they are responsible for payments for their own lodging on days they are not there expressly for a meeting or conference.
- Change the Company Culture
Have you ever had a workaholic manager? Someone who always showed up early, worked past dinner daily, and answered emails around the clock? We bet you probably didn’t feel comfortable leaving the office at the end of normal business hours or taking a vacation.
Companies that preach work-life balance but have leaders who exhibit workaholic tendencies have a hard time getting employees to feel comfortable taking advantage of bleisure.
Cultural change comes from the top. If employees see executives and managers creating a work-life balance for themselves through bleisure, the employees will follow suit.
If you’re serious about embracing bleisure at your company, bring together senior leaders and explain expectations to them. Create an environment where bleisure is encouraged and practiced, rather than frowned upon or ignored.
Takeaways for Encouraging Employees to Embrace Bleisure.
Your business travelers won’t embrace bleisure if it’s not embraced by the company. Your company needs a top down approach to bleisure that begins with the corporate travel policy and extends to the leadership team’s behavior. Here’s how to make employees feel comfortable with adding bleisure to their next business trip:
- Allow business travelers to book their own travel and accommodations
- Offer Jack and Ferdi for your employees
- Encourage and embrace remote workdays
- Set expectations from the top down