The Uptok Blog

The Travel Burden of Outside Sales: Managing Stress and Burnout

July 31, 2023

In the dynamic world of outside sales, frequent travel is a common aspect of the job. These professionals are constantly on the move, meeting potential clients, attending trade shows, and pitching their products or services. While traveling can bring with it exciting opportunities and valuable face-to-face interactions, the cumulative impact of extensive travel can become a significant burden.

Over time, the constant packing and unpacking, navigating through crowded airports, adapting to different time zones, and maintaining performance levels can lead to elevated stress levels and potential burnout. As the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized burnout as a legitimate occupational phenomenon in 2019, it’s a concern that cannot be ignored.

If not effectively managed, this stress can lead to reduced productivity, a decreased sense of accomplishment, and mental fatigue—essentially the hallmarks of burnout. For an outside sales representative, who is often the front-line ambassador of the company's brand, this can significantly impact their performance and overall job satisfaction.

So, how can outside sales professionals combat this stress and prevent burnout? Here are some strategies that can prove beneficial.

Firstly, scheduling regular rest periods is essential. While it might be tempting to pack as many meetings as possible into each day to maximize productivity, this can lead to exhaustion. Instead, planning regular downtime can provide an opportunity to relax and recharge, thereby maintaining energy levels and overall performance.

Secondly, finding ways to make travel more enjoyable can mitigate the travel burden. Whether it's exploring new locations, trying out local cuisines, or taking part in local cultural experiences, these activities can help transform travel from a job necessity into a source of enjoyment.

Moreover, the advent of advanced communication technologies has made remote work a viable option for some outside sales tasks. Leveraging video conferencing tools for meetings, for instance, can reduce the need for travel, providing sales professionals with more flexibility and reducing travel-related stress.

Companies also have a critical role to play in supporting their outside sales teams. This could involve providing comprehensive travel packages, offering flexibility in schedules, incorporating remote work policies, or providing access to mental health resources. By showing their support, companies can enhance the job satisfaction and well-being of their outside sales team, which, in turn, can contribute to improved performance and retention.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance in outside sales is not just beneficial—it's essential. It requires a combined effort from both the sales professionals and the companies they work for. By implementing strategies to manage stress and prevent burnout, companies can ensure their outside sales teams remain motivated, productive, and ready to represent the brand in the best possible light. As the old adage goes, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' Therefore, it's time to reiterate the importance of rest and relaxation in the otherwise fast-paced world of outside sales.