Who benefits from work-related travel?
A new study shows it’s a win-win for businesses and employees

travelling for work australia

New research indicates that offering travel opportunities to employees' under-55 could benefit employers by nurturing more committed employees and establishing more predictable annual leave patterns.

Gen Z is likely to take less time off work in 56 per cent of cases, while approximately 32 per cent of Millennials and Gen X are more likely to add-on personal holidays onto business trips, resulting in cost savings for employees and fewer leave-related disruptions for businesses.

The latest research into how corporate travel influences annual leave decisions comes from a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1001 Australians. Corporate Traveller asked respondents how they would use annual leave if they could travel more for work, including circumstances that would influence their decisions, such as the destination type, whether the location was new to them, and the season in which work trips were scheduled.

Travelling for work would influence annual leave decisions for 1 in 2 Australians.

Fifty-four (54) per cent of respondents said business travel would influence the way they used annual leave, with an equal 27 per cent indicating they would take more or less leave if they travelled for work.

Gen Z would take less leave if they could travel for work

At 56 per cent, Generation Z adults (aged 18-24[1]) are most likely to minimise their annual leave if they travelled for work. This contrasts with responses by Baby Boomers (ages 55-69[2]), in which 56 per cent of 55-64s said travel for work would have no influence on their annual leave habits. The findings suggest that Gen Z, which includes school leavers, tertiary graduates, and early-career or junior employees, still find travel new and exciting, providing opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. With Gen Z satisfied with the experiences of work-related travel, businesses are less likely to experience disruptions and staff shortages outside of these trips.

Millennials and Gen X more likely than Gen Z to take more leave if they could travel for work

Millennials and Generation X (ages 25-39 and 40-54 respectively[3]) are more likely to be at the peak of their careers, starting families, or in the midst of raising a family. A third of each generation (32 per cent and 31 per cent respectively) said they would extend business trips to include leisure time, saving on flights, food and accommodation, and holidaying to destinations they may not have chosen otherwise. This compares with 23 per cent of Generation Z respondents who said the same. With leave added onto business travel or trips extended into weekends, businesses can expect rested workers and fewer leave-related disruptions at other times of the year.

Travel for work least likely to impact annual leave decisions of Baby Boomers and Queenslanders

For Baby Boomers (ages 55-69[4]), the novelty of business travel and the desire or need to save on travel costs may be redundant. More than half of respondents (56%) aged 55-64 said travel for work would have no influence on their annual leave habits. This compares with 21 per cent of Generation Z and 35 per cent of Millennials who said the same. The findings indicate that older workers are more likely to have financial reserves to take holidays as they please. 

Queenslanders are also less likely to be swayed, with 55 per cent saying work travel would have no impact on their annual leave use. Year-round sunshine and active, outdoor lifestyles are likely behind this trend. By comparison, 41 per cent of respondents living in the cooler state of Victoria said business travel benefits would not impact their annual leave use.

aussies travelling for work

Tom Walley, Australian-based Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller, says: “Everyone stands to benefit from opportunities to travel for work. For businesses, that means fewer disruptions related to annual leave, fewer staffing issues - not to mention the leads and relationships gained from the business trip itself. For most employees, it means new and exciting opportunities, and savings on travel costs.  There are substantial benefits for both parties.

“It makes sense that age, stage of life and living location will affect how people view and use these opportunities. Younger workers, particularly those just entering the workforce, don’t necessarily have the accrued annual leave to extend a business trip into a ‘bleisure’ trip. So, the idea of travelling to new and far-flung places as part of their work would also still be a novel experience. They can enjoy the sights once the business day is done, or if their business trip runs into a weekend. At the end of the day, businesses are more likely to have rested, motivated staff.

"Employees utilising their annual leave is in the best interest of employers - a well-rested workforce is going to be healthier, more productive and more engaged. Keeping leave balances under a certain threshold also bodes well for the bottom line, particularly across smaller companies operating with small margins."

1,2,3,4 2021 Census shows Millennials overtaking Boomers | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

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