Positives & negatives of the bleisure travel trend: what it means for HR and businesses

Discover the positives and negatives of the bleisure travel trend, and how the blending of business and leisure travel affects HR strategies, business process, employee satisfaction and work-life balance.

author

James Rowland

Commercial Director James leads Account Management, Sales and Marketing at Neathouse Partners.

Date

29 May 2024

Updated

11 July 2024
4 min read
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Positives & negatives of the bleisure travel trend: what it means for HR and businesses
8:37

Since remote working became more popular, more workers and businesses alike are embracing the 'bleisure' trend. If you didn't know what that means, it's a combination of 'business' and 'leisure'.

Bleisure is becoming a great way for business travellers to have some down time, combining business requirements with leisure all in one trip.

'Bleisure' is typically another way of describing a 'working' holiday, but it can be referred to as a way of combining work and recreation.  


What is the 'bleisure' travel trend?

Man with laptop at a train station

As a blend of business and leisure, 'bleisure' offers professionals the chance to explore new destinations outside of work commitments. Also referred to as a 'work-cation', bleisure enhances the traditional business trip by incorporating leisure alongside work obligations, so that an employee can spend longer experiencing and travelling around a destination – whether they choose to stay in their own country, or travel abroad.

The convergence of business and leisure reflects how more workers want to have flexibility in how they live their lives, like taking a virtual meeting while on holiday from a tropical location, for instance. Despite the structured nature of business travel, incorporating leisure activities allows travellers to enjoy the benefits of working when they need to, with personal relaxation in-between.

Research supports the appeal of bleisure travel as a key strategy for improving work-life balance. By extending stays or scheduling downtime after business engagements, travellers can optimise their travel experience, freeing up time for unwinding for mental health, cultural exploration or recreation.


Examples of bleisure travel


There are plenty of combined work and travel experiences that can be examples of 'bleisure'. For instance, leisure activities can be spent inside office spaces, like taking part in a ping pong game inside a designated office relaxation area.

In the context of travel, bleisure trips are taken by business travellers who extend their travels to engage in leisure activities.

Here are some more common examples of bleisure travel:

  • A conference attendee in New York City stays a few extra days to explore museums, restaurants, and landmarks while they are staying there.
  • A salesperson visiting Dubai for a client meeting extends their trip to dine, shop and visit the water parks as a tourist.
  • A consultant working remotely in Bali takes time off to enjoy the island's beaches and cultural attractions (when they are not working for clients).
  • A software developer attending a Tokyo tech conference explores the city's cuisine and cultural experiences over the weekend.

The rise of bleisure isn't new – business travellers have long incorporated some leisure into their trips, but it hasn't been as formally recognised as it is today.

This trend also resonates with freelancers and digital nomads, whose flexibility allows for travel and exploration between work commitments.


Why do workers like bleisure trips?

Tel Aviv airport
Bleisure travel is becoming very popular, given the many benefits it offers workers. These include:

 

Savings on holiday trips

One big plus is that an employee can explore a destination in their own time, and it often costs less. Since a company covers the flights for the business part of your trip, adding a couple of extra nights in a hotel to cover a weekend stay doesn't greatly impact personal budget.

 

Boosted morale

Taking a break from work is important for well-being and happiness levels, and makes people happier and less burnt out, which in turn boosts work productivity levels.

Business travel is already seen as a perk, but adding leisure into the mix makes it an even more positive experience. It's also empowering for employees. Planning a business trip around personal interests adds a nice touch of independence and trust that an employer places in their employees.

 

Work/life balance

With work and personal life blending more than ever, bleisure helps bridge the gap.

Those who have taken bleisure trips tend to report higher satisfaction with their quality of life and work-life balance when compared to those who haven't.

 

Sustainability

There's an eco-friendly side to bleisure travel, too. By exploring during business trips, travellers reduce the need for extra trips and holidays, which is better for the environment.

With tighter schedules and less budget to pay on flights, companies are wanting more value out of each trip while cutting down on carbon emissions.


Why are bleisure trips great for employers?


Bleisure trips ensure better employee retention for companies, as they offer more work flexibility and free time to enjoy life.

Many workers value having a good work-life balance in a company, and an organisation may find that promoting bleisure trips also attracts top talent.

Allowing employees to engage in leisure while on business trips can also help to boost productivity and creativity.

When managed effectively and integrated into planning, bleisure travel helps to blend work and personal life in a positive way. It opens up exciting new possibilities for travellers, and they can have more free time without sacrificing annual leave.

Employees can get more out of life experiences, enhancing their overall quality of life and boosting morale and productivity without significant added costs for businesses.

As solutions continue to evolve, separating payment for business and leisure aspects can also become more streamlined, whether it's adding an extra hotel night, or extending travel for personal activities. Car hire companies for example now offer a bill splitting feature in mobile apps that help workers to split up payment between corporate and personal credit cards.

 

Negatives of the bleisure travel trend for employers


The rise of bleisure travel can bring some administrative challenges for companies and HR departments. Some of these include:

 

Policy development and compliance

Creating and enforcing clear policies around bleisure travel can be challenging. Companies need to outline guidelines for what constitutes acceptable bleisure activities, how expenses will be managed, and whether there are limitations on trip extensions.

 

Expense management

Managing expenses related to bleisure travel can be complex. Companies must establish processes to differentiate between business and personal expenses incurred during extended stays or leisure activities. This includes defining reimbursement criteria and ensuring compliance with company expense policies.

 

Legal and insurance issues

Extending business trips for leisure purposes can raise legal problems with insurance protections. Companies need to ensure that employees are covered by insurance policies during the entire duration of their trip, especially during leisure activities or when hiring a car.

 

Workload management

If they're not managed correctly, bleisure trips can impact workloads and project timelines. HR departments must ensure that work expectations and deadlines are clear before and after any leisure extension of a trip to prevent disruptions in project delivery.

 

Opportunity and fairness

Employers should address concerns related to fairness and equity among employees. Some employees may have more opportunities to engage in bleisure travel than others based on job roles or travel requirements. HR must ensure that bleisure opportunities are accessible to all.

 

Cultural and diversity considerations

Bleisure travel may have different implications based on cultural norms and diversity considerations. HR needs to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and ensure that policies and practices related to bleisure are inclusive.

 

Risk management

Companies must assess and manage potential risks associated with bleisure travel, including safety concerns in destination locations and potential liabilities arising from risky leisure activities.


We can draft bleisure trip policy documentation

Neathouse Partners consultants

If your organisation is thinking of allowing bleisure trips, we can help you draft polices and procedures to help ensure your duty of care as an employer while remaining compliant with the law. Speak to our team of professionals at Neathouse Partners today.

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