In companies where business travel plays a critical role in attracting and retaining international partners and clients, keeping the travellers safe and secure once they head out to the destination is of utmost importance. However, as this business travel becomes a routine, the expenses associated with it can stack up fast as well, so you may find yourself trying to cut corners just minimise the expenses.
While such decision fathomable, it is a poor choice since reducing expense can also lead to more dangers for your travelling employees. As a company, you have a duty of care to ensure your employees are safe from the risks that come with travelling abroad for business.
Fortunately, with just a few simple steps you can improve the overall safety of your employees and create a more productive and satisfying experience even when they are travelling overseas.
Track Your Business Travellers’ Location
Whether you deploy tracking apps or put a tracking system in place to ensure regular check-ins, it is important that you know where your employees are. Failing to do so means that if a disaster were to occur, your employees would be left to their own to assess the situation and decide what to do next.
Having the capability to know your employees’ location at any given time will make it easier for your company what needs to be done to ensure the safety and security of your employees. In most companies, the Human Resource department is in charge of monitoring employees throughout the trip. For small businesses, travelling employees are required to communicate daily with onsite workers, which is also an effective way to ensure that employees have everything they need abroad.
Common Potential Business Travel Risks
Whoever is responsible for tracking employees, it is extremely important that all potential risks are identified long before the employees embark for the trip. While the dangers associated with travel have become so commonplace, there are common risks that your employees might face on the road, including:
- Chronic Jet Lag
Chronic jet lag results from frequent long-distance travel and can lead to various long-term health consequences such as faster aging, memory loss, and host of other problems. Make sure you give your employees enough time to recoup and adjust when travelling time zones to decrease this particular health hazard.
- Natural Disasters
Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis – natural disasters pose a business travel risks which you can’t simply ignore. In fact, according to a survey, 43% of businesses had changed travel plans due to concerns over natural disasters. To minimise the exposure of your employees to this particular risk, keep an eye on weather conditions, plan ahead, and create a policy which details what your employees should do in case of natural disasters.
- Cultural Differences
Differences in customs and traditions can leave employees to deal with situations they couldn’t have planned for. A woman is traveling in a country where modesty is paramount, for example, should be informed about appropriate attire in advance. Research what other travellers say about the country your employees will be travelling to, and make sure your employees are appropriately prepared.
- Injuries and Illness
The chance of getting injured or sick increases when travelling to an unfamiliar place. It is best to have your employees checked by a doctor before the trip to determine if they are still fit for the trip or need a medication to bring with them.
Thieves and pickpockets know if a person is a local or not and are always looking for an easy target. In case the worst happens, having a company policy in place to deal with things like stolen wallets (including passports, IDs, and other critical items) can help employees handle these types of dangers.
Tips to Fulfill Duty of Care
- Evaluate Your Employees – Have all your travelling employees checked before and after their trip to ensure that they are fit and have not contracted any disease during their trip.
- Research the Destination – Check out the travel advice from your travel agency or secure the services of an expert who will identify trouble spots before the trip takes place. Debrief employees on return from their travels to identify potential issues for the future.
- Share Critical Information– Make sure that your employees know all pertinent facts about the destination, such as cultural concerns, geographic information, upcoming weather forecasts, and information about important facilities such as hospitals and the hotel where they will be staying.
- Hire a Reliable Ground Transport Provider – To ensure the safety of your employees while travelling on the road, it is best to hire a chauffeured transport instead of letting them use public transport and/or rent taxis. Doing so will not only help your employees prepare for their trip or recover their energy from a long flight but will also ensure that that they will arrive at their destination safely and on-time.
Follow all these tips, and you’re on your way of making every business trips as safe and satisfying as possible for your employees.
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