Business travel is one of the favorite job perks of the millennial employee. In fact, 75%* of the young professionals in the US see it as a top benefit.
While it might have been considered a challenge by other generations, the ambitious and hard-working millennial is pretty happy with it. And why wouldn’t they?
Traveling for business is often seen as a status symbol. It’s a way to experience the world outside of the office while still getting things done. The millennial traveling for work likes to make the time to check out a new place, eat local food, meet new people and create memories. He can come back refreshed and motivated to do even better work for the company.
What’s more, they manage to stay in shape, be positive and network while on the road, even if it’s more tiring than life without travel. Breaking the monotony is great for the creative individual. But when traveling becomes a frequent part of their year, month or even week, things can easily get out of control.
Having a busy schedule and one filled with flights, together with having to deal with jet lag and the discomfort of adapting to a new location, can be overwhelming. That’s when you can neglect your health and fall into the trap of some bad habits.
Not to mention that even touching something on the plane carries risk and being around a sick person for long increases your chances of catching the flu*.
The end result might be a weakened immune system, sickness or burnout, all of which have consequences to your job performance and ability to enjoy life.
Let’s see what the frequent business traveler can do to stay healthy and high-performing.
1. Good plane hygiene
If flying is just a way for you to get from one place to the other, maybe you aren’t taking conscious decisions during your flight. That means you order a snack or meal that will take your energy away instead of recharge you.
You use the toilet like any other passenger, drink liquids on board, touch your seat, and so much more.
Each of these affects your health negatively if you don’t have good plane hygiene. The food and drinks on airplanes are famous for caring risk. While the toilets are considered the dirtiest place there and multiple studies have proven the different kinds of germs they store, it’s also been suggested that the tray table and seatbelt buckle might be even worse for your health*.
To prevent that, wash your hands thoroughly as often as you can (and every time after touching something that all other passengers might have had access to).
Wipe down the objects around your seat with a sanitizing wipe and don’t place anything directly on the table in front of you as it's considered the dirtiest place on the plane*. Instead, use a wrapper or paper.
Avoid using the seatback pocket as people before you might have put something caring plenty of germs.
Sitting by the window might be a better choice. It also decreases the chance of getting sick.
2. Master jet lag prevention
What you do right after the flight is crucial too. The symptoms of jet lag can vary, but most often they are quite harmful and can take your energy and focus away for more than a day.
There are things you can do to manage that and even prevent it from getting to you.
For a start, try to get some sleep in the airplane. To make sure it’s uninterrupted, wear earplugs and an eye mask.
Eat right before, during and after your flight to ensure you give your body and mind the nutrients they need to handle the time zone tiredness.
The day before the flight, stay away from alcohol and caffeine. You don’t want your brain to be overly stimulated when traveling as there are already too many factors keeping it awake. Also, sleep well and enough the night before to ensure you arrive at the airport well-rested and can go through a day of travel without feeling exhausted.
3. Hydration is key
The 2 worst things you can do to your body are not resting enough and not staying hydrated. The former can be avoided by taking naps whenever and wherever you can when traveling, while the latter requires mindfulness and the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you anywhere you go.
4. Adjust your body to the new destination
If it’s not bedtime any time soon after you arrive at a new location, go for a walk. It’s a great way to stay awake naturally, breathe some fresh air, get some sunlight, and adapt to the change by exploring the area a bit.
5. Keep under control the consequences of a long flight
Some of the side effects of flying include headaches, feeling dizzy, exhaustion, irritation, bloating, lack of coordination, ear pain, and more.
To make sure that doesn’t affect your performance when doing business and that you’re representative and in a good mood when interacting with people, exercise, eat well, avoid loud noises, take a soothing bath in the evening and empty your mind, imitate as many of your daily habits from your usual routine as you can to be productive.
Employee health is one of the key aspects of life management. It’s also directly related to your job performance and being the best employee you can be so you can reach the next level of your career.
Follow the tips above when traveling for business and understand the value of preventative health in order to avoid any possible issues that might slow down your progress in life.
But healthcare goes beyond this. With more than 30% of millennials being parents*, anything you do is shaping the habits of children too. Little things like carving out time to stay active even with a busy schedule, not making bad food choices even when you’re tired and in a bad mood, and having regular checkups can make a big difference over time.
If you’re interested in learning more about the value of preventative health, you can sing up for EHE's YES program. The specialists involved in the program are here to help you be your best self and that includes taking good care of your health.