Traveling for work? Brace yourself for 14-hour work days. From nice hotels to free food and drink and lavish nightlife, the concept of business travel can seem glamorous, but new research shows the reality is often anything but.
Rushing to and from meetings, worrying about sweating through your clothes, and navigating an average workday spanning 14 hours were some of the more realistic experiences of a typical day outside of the office.
In fact, the average business traveler gets only two hours a day when they aren’t required to work, and most feel pressured to put that sliver of time towards work-related activities like extra networking or meeting preparation.
This new survey also aimed to spotlight the biggest obstacles of work-related travel and found being away from family, dealing with airports, living out of a suitcase, and worrying about sweat and clothing wrinkles numbers among the biggest challenges of traveling for work.
The study by men’s suit retailer Jos. A. Bank surveyed 2,000 business travelers and found that looking presentable while living out of a suitcase can be tough. And it doesn’t help that there seems to be added pressure to look your best when on the road — at least according to 70 percent of survey respondents.
Over half (57 percent) agree that they have trouble keeping their clothes and suits tidy and unwrinkled while on a trip.
Four in ten (42 percent) also say they get extra sweaty due to the rush of being in and out of meetings and constantly on the go, prompting over three out of five (66 percent) to agree that a good suit is crucial to a successful business trip.
Free time can be hard to come by when you’re traveling on the clock, too. Respondents say they have, on average, just about two hours a day to themselves, with 47 percent saying they have even less than that.
Being able to actually spend that free time relaxing or exploring the city is a challenge in itself, as 63 percent of men who travel for work say they feel pressure to spend their precious free hours working in some fashion.
“The results showed that life on the road is full of long hours and can sometimes be hard work,” said Mary Beth Blake, Brand President of Jos. A. Bank. “While traveling for business can yield some unexpected obstacles, the one thing you should be able to rely on is your suit.
But while business travel can certainly be wearisome in some ways, the survey also found there were quite a few benefits to it as well.
Getting able to see a new place was named the best thing about traveling for work (56 percent), and meeting new people face-to-face (55 percent), and racking up those handy hotel rewards points (53 percent) round out the top three.
When business travelers can get away from work on a trip, the most popular way to spend that time is trying out the local restaurants (77 percent), with exploring the city coming in second place (67 percent).
But a work trip is just that, it turns out, as 62 percent say they spend their free time putting in work, putting it in third place.
So what is the secret to having a successful business trip?
When tasked to come up with one piece of advice to give business travelers on how to have a successful business trip, two words kept coming up: “Be prepared.”
“Being prepared is key for any business trip,” said Blake.
10 SECRETS TO HAVING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS TRIP, ACCORDING TO TRAVELERS
• Be prepared
• Be flexible/go with the flow
• Believe in yourself and be positive
• Expect the unexpected
• Don’t stress about what you can’t control. Let yourself focus on the matter at hand.
• Enjoy the adventure
• Keep smiling
• Pack smart
• Plan ahead
• Work hard
TOP 10 BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF TRAVELING FOR WORK
• Being away from family 50%
• Dealing with flight/train delays 47%
• Dealing with airports 46%
• Time spent traveling 45%
• Staying fit and healthy 39%
• Traffic 37%
• Living out of a suitcase 36%
• Working longer/harder hours 34%
• Being in a new place but not having time to explore it 33%
• Keeping your clothes/suit looking good (unwrinkled, etc.) 33%
TOP 10 BIGGEST BENEFITS OF TRAVELING FOR WORK
• Seeing a new place 56%
• Meeting new people face to face 55%
• Getting hotel loyalty points 53%
• Getting out of the office 51%
• Enjoying good food/drink 49%
• Staying in a nice hotel 48%
• Claiming airline miles 48%
• Getting new opportunities 46%
• I like the alone time 30%
• Feels like a paid vacation 24%
A day out of the office means…
• 3h 51 travel to, from, in between meetings
• 6h 43 in meetings, working from hotel room etc.
• 1 hour 55 – free time to explore city, additional networking etc.
• 1 hour 21 mins – lunch, bathroom breaks, etc.
• Average working day = 13 hours 50 mins