Providing and arranging travel for employees, whether a global conference, sales presentation or team meeting can often be a logistical challenge. As businesses gets back into the swing of international travel, Ingrid Sanderson, founder of Principal Business Travel is urging SME’s to put their people first.

How much do you think companies consider staff welfare ahead of profit?

Honestly, not enough.

While managers are typically focused on profit & loss, company policy and timely reporting, travellers are looking to travel as comfortably and practically as possible. This often results in a clash between manager and traveller, which in turn results in frustrations, low morale and lack of productivity.

Most forward thinking companies put their people first – talent is a scarce resource so, to make your talent feel valued companies need to make travel a perk, not a chore!

Ultimately, travel is an HR issue.

How has the pandemic changed mindset over work/life balance and company tolerance of that?

There is now a moving mindset with regards to a re-evaluation of work life balance. Companies are far more aware of this now and are also far keener to explore and embrace it.

Whilst we all understand the importance of taking to the air to conduct business, visit customer sites or projects around the globe – travel by its very nature can be time-consuming, often unproductive, and downright detrimental to health. Who hasn’t embarked on a long-haul business trip and then struggled to get through a day’s work in a fog of jet-lag!

How can sending staff off on holidays increase profit?

Think about how you feel after a well-earned break. The same goes for your teams. Healthier, happier staff perform better and staff retention is improved dramatically, which is essential in such a candidate/employee driven recruitment market.

For the most part, business travel is stressful, even if subconsciously. There are those that enjoy it more than others, those that positively thrive on it, those that cope and those that don’t. If companies can therefore shift some of their focus towards assisting travellers to remain as rested, well nourished, as fit & well informed as possible there will be long term benefits for all parties.

Is the current ‘epidemic’ of strikes over pay/conditions etc a contributing factor for the need to change mindset on welfare (not just pay)?

Definitely, as seen with many recent service sector strikes, pay is a crucial factor.

However, general working hours/conditions are also things that are causing dis-ease amongst workers. You can’t always just throw money at the problem (even if you have it). The key is to listen and to ensure that you are working with your people as partners within the organisation.

Looking after how they travel and taking into account their preferences as well as their more direct working needs is a really wise approach to take.

What about this “Bleisure” concept? Might it be abused by staff after being brought in by well meaning companies?

For some it is a tad controversial but it is just like any policy, from flexible working to 4 day weeks and hybrid working. It needs to be carefully considered as a fit for the organisation and then introduced as part of an overall travel policy.

By doing that, clear guidelines can be drawn and from there, it becomes an asset to your organisation in reputational and recruitment terms, rather than a liability to be exploited by the unscrupulous.

Businesses looking to get to grips with employee wellness from the travel perspective can access the “Business Travel Company Travel Policy & Wellness Guide” for FREE by visiting or emailing

In it, Ingrid provides a comprehensive wellbeing programme for business travellers. The aim is to narrow the gap between managers and frequent travellers, who so often have different ideas regarding how business travel should be undertaken.