The U.S. is the world champion in business trip spending, with businesses spending an estimated $250 billion in 2011. Last year, a Columbia University study confirmed that business travel could literally be killing people. Now a new survey suggests even if the consequences aren't quite that dire, business travel is usually bad news.
Nearly all adults (94 percent) think "bad behaviors" happen out of town on business, according to a survey of some 2,000 conducted by Harris Interactive for On24 Inc. (Let it be noted that On24's business includes video conferencing.)
A Breakdown of Bad Behavior
Among the naughtiness: 71 percent figured trips out of town to conventions and meetings included heavy drinking, 66 percent assumed cheating on a spouse, 54 percent thought business travelers spend too much money, and 53 percent, eating fatty foods.
Lower down on the list: Not sticking to an exercise routine (43 percent), going to bed late (42 percent) and taking illicit drugs (31 percent).
In the Columbia University study, researchers analyzed data on 13,000 people who were part of a corporate wellness program. About 80 percent of them traveled at least one night per month; one percent travelled more than 20 nights per month.
Health risks spiked as the amount of time on the road did, according to the study. Extensive travelers were 260 percent more likely than light travelers to rate their health as fair to poor. Obesity was 92 percent more common in the road warriors, who also had higher cholesterol and high blood pressure.
In the On24, Inc. survey, respondents blamed business travel for a host of problems, none of which spell good news for office productivity (and few of which are likely to be good for health). Seventy-five percent said work travel caused increase stress. Seventy percent fingered it for failed marriages or relationship, 54 percent for rebellious kids, and 45 percent for the increased probability of affairs. (Sixty-three percent also blamed it for health problems.)
The survey showed 85 percent of Americans think work—and with it, business travel —infringes on personal time. Long hours are most to blame, with 55 percent blaming late nights and early mornings. Working weekends/overtime was a close second, with 54 percent, followed by a tie between employers demanding more in a poor economy and business calls or e-mails while not at work (49 percent).