The blurring line between travelling and not travelling

March 14, 2023

Colleagues working on a train

Many workers see travelling as lost time — but it doesn’t have to be.

If you drive to work and find yourself sitting in traffic, it probably is lost time as you’re focused on driving. But when you choose another means of transport, your travel time becomes an opportunity to decompress, learn, or even work. 

44% of business travellers want the opportunity to remain productive in transit. You must consider this when building your company’s travel policy. 

But as the line between travel and not travelling blurs, it could put your employees at a higher risk of burnout. So working when travelling must be balanced with the opportunity to switch off — which can’t be done when driving. 

The blurring line between travelling and not travelling

The days of working from a single location are over.

Thanks to wi-fi, laptops, and mobile hotspots, it’s possible to work from almost anywhere, leading to a sharp increase in hybrid and remote working. But as employers developed hybrid working policies, working while in transit fell under the radar. 

Trains offer wi-fi, an increasing number of buses and cars have USB charging points, and mobile data allows for near-constant connectivity. So you can do the same amount of work on a train as you would at your desk. And you can continue to make calls or reply to emails from the back of a work ride-hailing trip.

This blurs the line between traditional ideas of travelling and not travelling — as being in transit no longer prevents you from completing certain tasks. With this blurring line comes the need for employers to take action in two areas: 

  1. You must cater for employees who want the option to work while travelling;
  2. It’s essential to stress the importance of switching off from work to your team.

Let’s explore these points in more detail.

1. Give employees the option to work while travelling

44% of business travellers want the opportunity to work while on the move. For these people, commuting to a client meeting is a valuable chance to catch up on emails or write up meeting notes. 

And you can give these people a free workstation as they move around for business by addressing your team’s travel.

For many years, the company car has been the go-to travel perk for employees. Failing that, companies hand out a car allowance. Yet investing in these depreciating assets is expensive and doesn’t support productivity (or the chance to switch off).

Commuters who drive lose around 54 hours a year in traffic. That’s valuable time that could be better spent working or recharging. Instead, this time behind the wheel contributes to increased blood pressure — putting your team at risk of various health problems.  

Supporting your team to take more sustainable forms of transport is the solution. Offering allowances or incentives to travel by alternatives to company and private cars makes the costs more manageable, helps to relieve congestion, and gives employees a chance to be productive or switch off. And removing the stress of daily driving will benefit your team’s physical and mental health. 

Look to public transport and sustainable mobility companies when considering your team’s travel needs.

2. The importance of switching off after work

Technology allows workers to stay connected while travelling, but now they almost have a moving desk. The easier you make it for your team to work in transit, the more you must remind them to take time out for their health.

While it’s great for touching up a presentation or joining a video call, travel time should also be used to switch off from work. Investing this time back into yourself will benefit your work in the long term through:

  • Higher productivity;
  • Better quality sleep;
  • Improved physical and mental health.

Fortunately, the same methods of transport that can support productivity — trains and work ride-hailing trips — also allow people to switch off. And being an employer who supports a healthy work-life balance is good for employee retention and reduces the amount of sick leave taken.

This blurring line is changing work-related travel

As the productivity limits of travelling disappear, the way people travel is changing. Take these two extreme cases: super-commuting and workcations.

The ability to travel further in an ever-decreasing amount of time (without needing a personal or company car) has seen a rise in super commuters. 

A super-commuter is “someone who regularly travels a very long distance between work and home, especially between different cities or countries.” You can label your commute as a ‘super commute’ if it takes more than 90 minutes to get to or from work (one way). 

In response to growing demands on business travellers, many workers now use their business trips as opportunities for a personal break. This gives business travellers a chance to switch off at the end of a business trip — something important in our ‘always on’ society. 

What can be one in the office, can be done in transit

You can make calls from the back of a work ride-hailing trip, many trains offer Wi-Fi access, and you’re rarely far from a USB port for charging your devices. This means employees can work while in transit and do the same tasks they could at a desk. 

When you make it easy for your team to travel for work without the need to get behind the wheel of a car, you’re giving them a choice to be productive or recharge their batteries. Driving supports neither. 

By partnering with Bolt Business, you’ll give your team a variety of ways to travel that can support productivity and help them switch off from work. Talk to us today.


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