Corporations are finding that “Bleisure” – a term that describes business travel with extra time for fun – can produce surprising productivity. The change of environment, with a bit of relaxation, along with different stimuli and some time to think inspires creativity.

About 37% of North America-based business travelers have extended a work trip for leisure, according to a 2017 study from the Global Travel Business Association. That number will likely rise in the future, however, as millennials (age 22 to 35), combined business and pleasure at a much higher rate of 48%. Baby boomers had the lowest figure, at 23%.

A growing number of corporations are now endorsing bleisure trips, not just for their top executives and their families, but also for company employees, who can add fun time to their business trips or make an extra stop on the way home to visit family.

Although bleisure trips are probably easier to do at the leadership level because the control, decision making and budgets are there, experts say companies that adopt it at all levels will benefit – not just for retention but for general mental health and happiness.

Of course, there are ethical and even legal and tax components to bleisure trips to consider. If a portion of your trip is exclusively for personal benefit, then you have to consider your shareholders and the government in that there’s potentially a taxable benefit that must be accounted for.

If the business is paying for the trip, it’s probably best to disclose the details to government, shareholders or whoever makes compensation decisions. It should be a conscious choice by the business. If the business is not paying for it, then the cost of extending a trip should be paid for by the traveler.

To avoid potential issues, it’s a good idea to develop policies and adhere to them. This might include standard practices on blending business and corporate travel, such as allowing the extension of one’s stay for personal reasons or adding days to the hotel that was booked.

Another consideration is what’s called “duty of care,” which means preserving the safety and security of travelers. For example, when a traveler wants to extend a trip, or bring along a spouse or family member, there are insurance questions to be addressed. Some companies offer insurance for the extension of business trips that become leisure trips.

Bleisure can give a corporation an advantage in the war for talent and as a retention strategy for employees, particularly those younger than 40. Personalized travel policies have become an important recruitment and retention tool, and job candidates are going out of their way to ask about them and making decisions based on what they hear, according to a 2018 study from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and American Express Global Business Travel.

Source:The Globe and Mail

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