A new survey has found that 62% of American workers have traveled to another state for work in the past 12 months, with 38% having spent 30 days or more in another state for work-related travel during the same time frame. The TSheets survey sought to find out what motivates these mobile workers, as well as what they struggle with—i.e., the downside to traveling for work–so that employers can plan accordingly when looking to recruit and retain this significant part of the American workforce.
When asked “What motivates you to travel for work?” the most frequent response, cited by 36% of mobile employees, was “It’s good for my career.” About another third (34%) responded that they simply enjoy travel (“I like to visit new places”).
A finding that may be surprising to employers is that compensation (“I only do it for the money”) was cited by only 27% as their top motivator. And, just 3% of all respondents reported to essentially having no motivation to travel (“I strongly dislike it”).
In terms of the downside of workplace travel, respondents were asked to identify the “hardest thing” about being a mobile worker—not surprisingly, the most popular response was time away from family (23%). But health issues were cited among the other reasons given, including sleep disruption (13%), poor diet (“My diet sucks when I’m traveling”—11%) and lack of opportunity to exercise (5%).
Employees also cited disliking air travel (16%), having to work longer hours (9%) and having to pay for work-related expenses up front (9%) as being hardships.
And, for anyone who says the solution to these struggles is to simply conduct meetings remotely…according to the survey, an overwhelming majority (93%) of respondents don’t believe that technology (such as web cams) will replace the value of face-to-face interaction. (In a survey summary, TSheets cited a UCLA study that found up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues.)
TSheets offered suggestions to alleviate some of the struggles identified by mobile employees including booking hotels that offer 24-hour fitness centers and/or continental breakfasts, and tracking the number of hours worked by mobile employees, so you can encourage them to take a break if that number “shoots too high.”
More suggestions, as well as a discussion of the use of mobile tech while traveling, and state income tax implications for employees and employers, can be found at TSheets.com.