The True Cost and ROI of Business Travel
In sports, athletes who perform at peak ability are often said to be “in the zone.” All else is shut out and their minds and bodies are as one, permitting total concentration.
When I read that a British Air flight crew had been sleep-deprived because of the noise in a New Delhi hotel—with the result that they delayed their flight to London—it set the wheels of my mind whirling.
For a flight crew to be “in the zone” for a 12-hour journey, it cannot be tired. Yes, giant jets have autopilot, but it could be disastrous if both pilot and co-pilot passed out at the same time from extreme fatigue.
For example, according to CNN, “In the August 27 Comair crash in Lexington, Kentucky, the lone air-traffic controller was working on just two hours of sleep, according to the NTSB.”
All of us have our own zones in which we do excellent work and feel good about what we do.
Travel can roundly screw up a person’s zone.
What should a company spend in order to ensure that the rep making a big sales presentation or investigating a multimillion dollar corporate fraud is in the zone after a 4,000- or 8,000-mile flight?
Mandating travel on the cheap probably is not a good idea.
You don’t realize how dangerous figure skating is until you see it live. When she competes, a figure skater must be in the zone. Speed and precision are everything. The slightest miscue can put her on her butt, cause injury and cost her a medal.
I used to watch figure skating on television (and once in a while at an arena). In the early 1990s, Tonya Harding showed up for either the world championships or the Olympics—I forget which—the day before she was scheduled to compete. Her coach, Diane Rawlinson, told the commentators that Harding was training well in her home arena and it was decided to keep her there until close to the competition. I remember thinking that Rawlinson was nuts. I once heard that the ideal schedule for getting completely over jet lag is one day for every time zone crossed (east or west), and Harding would be flying for over 10 hours from Portland, Ore. to Europe.