The majority of business travellers believe taking part in bleisure travel during a work trip makes them more productive, according to new research.
Business travellers polled by academics at the University of East London (UEL) cited a number of benefits to being able to experience the leisure side of a destination on top of a work trip, including an increase in their personal wellbeing when they return to work (78 per cent).
The study, commissioned by London City airport for its Bleisure Travel Report, found that 61 per cent said they were more productive following bleisure trips.
More than a third of respondents (36 per cent) have extended their business trip to engage in leisure activities, suggesting the practice is becoming increasingly popular as working habits evolve.
London City says the findings counterbalance past research that shows the damaging effects of business travel, which suggested some employees felt guilty about asking their employer for leisure time during work trips.
The main leisure activities planned by business travellers include sampling local food and drink, sightseeing, culture and history, as well as visiting friends and family. More than half (54 per cent) have been joined by a family member or significant other during a bleisure trip.
Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City airport, said: “We are seeing a generation of people for whom work and leisure are intertwined, and they’re applying that blend of business and pleasure when they travel. The reason? They think it’s good for their health and their wealth...”
Birte Schmitz, co-author of the report and lecturer in hospitality and tourism management at UEL, commented: “There’s a great opportunity here for urban business destinations and London City airport to promote leisure and tourism activities along passengers’ journeys, to help them unlock the benefits to wellbeing and productivity fellow passengers say they feel.”
Dr Nazia Ali, co-author of the report and senior lecturer in event and leisure management at UEL, added: “These benefits of bleisure include positive mind-set when returning to work, sharing of positive experiences with colleagues and contribution to work-life balance.”
Despite the positive attitude toward bleisure from travellers, 71 per cent of those surveyed reported their employer does not actively promote leisure activities before or after business trips.
Michael Spiers, chief people officer at London City airport, said: “This research suggests many businesses don’t have formal policies in place about when and how employees can add leisure elements to their business travel. So there’s a ‘quick win’ here for HR departments, by setting out these policies, which in turn can boost ‘bleisure’ travel, promote greater wellbeing and productivity, and show how much employers value the work-life balance of their employees.”
View the full report here.