National Car Rental’s third annual State of Business Travel survey shows that while 67% of respondents still try to draw a line between their work and personal lives, 65% believe it’s an unrealistic goal. Instead, more than half of respondents are now blending work life and personal life, rather than attempting to keep them separate.
What does this work-life blending look like? During an average week, respondents answered 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 3.00 days. But, while at work, they also answered personal emails on 2.94 days, took personal calls on 2.85 days and worked on personal projects on 1.63 days. 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 data shows this trend is particularly prevalent among business travelers and is popularly referred to as “bleisure.” 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).
When traveling 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 travelers. 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%).
Seventy-nine percent of bleisure travelers are more likely to volunteer for a business trip if they know they can extend their stay, up nine percent from last year’s survey, and fewer people 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.
Importantly, the majority of bleisure travelers (86% vs. 69% of non-bleisure travelers) believe business travel contributes to their career success and helps them build key relationships they otherwise couldn’t without business travel (81% vs. 73%).
Ground transportation continues to be a key component of business travel. According to National’s survey, travelers rely on a mix of transportation options, depending on their needs. For example, rental cars are the top choice for getting around the city (78%) and going to business meetings (72%), while ridesharing is used to get to restaurants and bars (68%).Taxis and rideshares are used equally to get to and from the airport (70%).
Work-life blending and bleisure are both highly enabled by technology, which has a large role in determining which brands travelers seek out. The survey data shows 90% choose brands that offer them technology tools that improve the business travel experience. And 90% of bleisure travelers perceive connected cars as beneficial for business travel.