Travel Life Edition:

Jet lag and duty of care for business travelers

Goodbye jet lag. Hello safety, health and productivity.

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Madison Coleman

Digital Marketing Associate | Travel Lifestyle Editor @ Insured Nomads

*This article was written by Timeshifter for the Insured Nomads audience.

Overseas travel is once again a business necessity.

Nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting, business dinner or the personal touch an in-person visit provides. While often indispensable to the business, these trips come at a cost. In addition to the actual cost of travel and accommodation, there is the cost of lost time and lost productivity during and after the trip. If the traveler is not fully adapted to the new time zone, poor performance, impaired alertness and concentration, and not being on top of their game during that key meeting carries a cost as well. International travel can also impact the health and safety of employees.

On average, it takes 1 day to adapt to each hour of time zone traveled.

A trip from New York to London, therefore, will take 5 days to adapt on the way there, and once adapted to UK time, 5 days to adapt on the way back. A trip to China from New York will take up to 12 days to adapt, in each direction. Every day spent ‘jet-lagged’ is a day of substandard productivity. You cannot perform at your best when your circadian clock, and the circadian rhythms it controls, are ‘out of sync’.

 

Generally, business trips aren’t long enough to allow employees to adapt naturally to the new time zone, which means they are not only not performing at their best during the trip, but it can take days or even weeks to recover once they return home. These costs are hidden, but often substantial: The cost of even one day of lost productivity, when multiplied for every business trip, is immeasurable.

 

Jet lag also carries health and safety implications. It compromises the immune function, increasing the risk of sickness during and after the trip. Also, jet-lagged employees are at an increased risk of drowsy driving accidents, particularly on the drive from the airport.

The real science of jet lag

Jet lag is the disruption of our circadian clocks, which regulates nearly all of our biological systems – from our sleep-wake cycle, mood and performance patterns to our metabolic, immune, and reproductive systems.

 
Timeshifter Bodyclocks

Unfortunately, travelers have been bombarded with incorrect advice from non-experts and false product claims, resulting in many persistent misconceptions about how to alleviate jet lag. Tips like sleeping as much as possible on the plane, eating only certain foods, getting a massage or acupuncture, or exercising in the morning upon arrival will not help anyone with jet lag. Staying hydrated, eating well, and exercising are great tips for staying healthy, but they have nothing to do with resetting our circadian clocks, which is required to alleviate jet lag.

 

The only way to reduce jet lag and address its negative consequences is to shift our circadian clocks to the new time zone as quickly as possible. This can only be achieved by the correct timing of light exposure and light avoidance. Seeing light at the wrong time — as is often recommended by non-experts — or sleeping on the plane when you should have seen light will shift a traveler’s clock in the wrong direction, making jet lag worse.

Jet lag ignored in most duty of care programs

Given its well-documented negative consequences, it’s astonishing that jet lag has not been addressed consistently in duty of care programs. In an era where global travel is increasingly integral to business operations, ignoring the negative effects of jet lag is a missed opportunity for employers to safeguard their workforce and optimize their performance. The myriad consequences of jet lag highlight the need for a more comprehensive approach to employee safety and wellness that encompasses the challenges posed by international travel.

Goodbye jet lag. Hello safety, health and productivity.

Incorporating a solution like Timeshifter is one effective way to address jet lag in your duty of care program. Timeshifter is a cutting-edge mobile app that utilizes a science-based algorithm to help travelers adjust their circadian rhythms as quickly as possible and minimize the effects of jet lag.

Timeshifter was developed with world-renowned scientists, based on the latest research in sleep and circadian neuroscience, and is the most-downloaded and highest-rated jet lag app in the world. Timeshifter has received several awards and recognition, including the National Sleep Foundation's SleepTech® Award, Health Magazine's Sleep Award, and Fast Company's World Changing Ideas. It is even recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for international travel.

By offering Timeshifter to your travelers, they can receive personalized jet lag mitigation plans tailored to their specific travel itineraries. These plans provide guidance on light exposure and light avoidance, when to sleep, and when to consume caffeine (optional) or melatonin (optional). This approach empowers employees to make informed choices, enabling them to arrive at their destinations feeling more alert, reducing the risk of health complications, and enhancing their overall performance during business trips. By proactively addressing jet lag with Timeshifter, organizations demonstrate a commitment to the safety, wellbeing and productivity of their employees, fostering a healthier, more efficient, and satisfied workforce.

Curious about how Timeshifter works? Want a demo? Interested in scientific proof? We are here to answer all of your questions. Schedule a call with one of our sales representatives.

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