ST. LOUIS — While 67% of business travellers still try to draw a line between their work and personal lives, 65% believe it’s an unrealistic goal, and more than half are now blending work life and personal life, fuelling the bleisure travel trend.
National Car Rental’s third annual ‘State of Business Travel’ survey, the poll behind the stats, also suggests that the majority of bleisure travellers (86% vs. 69% of non-bleisure travellers) believe business travel contributes to their career success and helps them build key relationships they otherwise couldn’t without business travel (81% vs. 73%).
National points out that as baby boomers extend their careers and Generation Z workers launch theirs, “we’ve arrived at a four-generation workforce”, with baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and Gen Z. Each have their own perceptions of work and personal time – both at the office and when they travel for business. But across all four groups, there’s a clear trend: the elusive goal of ‘work-life balance’ is giving way to a more fluid ‘work-life blending’.
Even when they’re not on the road, employees are doing more work during their off hours. The 2020 survey showed that during an average week, respondents answered work emails after working hours on 3.97 days, arrived early or stayed late on 3.72 days and took work calls after working hours on 3 days.
But at the same time, some personal tasks are taking place at work. While at work, respondents said they answered personal emails on 2.94 days, took personal calls on 2.85 days and worked on personal projects on 1.63 days.
According the study, this shift to blending “is actually endorsed by senior and executive leaders, 65% of whom said they prefer to blend their personal and professional lives.”
The survey found most business travelers (81%) engage in some form of bleisure travel, including incorporating leisure activities into business travel (61%), extending business travel into leisure trips (41%) and booking a vacation around a business trip (33%).
Millennials (86%) are more likely to have done bleisure travel than Gen Xers (76%) and baby boomers (73%). In addition, senior/executive leaders are almost twice as likely to extend their business trip into leisure travel (50%) or book a vacation around their business trip (40%) than non-managers (28% and 27%, respectively).
“In an increasingly connected and mobile world, we’re seeing employees – and business travelers, in particular – finding new ways to balance their work and personal time,” says Don Moore, Senior Vice President of Global Business Rental for Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates National Car Rental, as well as the Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
“As we enter this new decade of the 21st century, National’s research suggests this shift in thinking. Instead of trying to meet unrealistic expectations, we’re actively seeking ways to blend work and leisure to achieve both life and career satisfaction.”
He said that when travelling for business, workers who engage in bleisure travel report higher overall satisfaction with their quality of life while on the road (91% vs. 79%) than non-bleisure travellers. They also report such additional benefits as following a healthy diet (41% vs. 32%), exercising (53% vs. 41%) and coming back feeling invigorated (54% vs. 35%).
There is also evidence that bleisure travel is winning more acceptance. Some 79% of bleisure travellers are more likely to volunteer for a business trip if they know they can extend their stay, up 9% from last year’s survey, and fewer people said they felt the need to downplay their leisure activities to their boss (19% vs. 21%) or their coworkers (22% vs. 24%), compared with a year ago.
The survey also looked at business travellers’ preferences when it comes to ground transportation and technology. More stats from the survey can be found here.