By Jorge Cruz, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing & Sales, BCD Travel
BCD’s Business Travel Trends for 2022 report alerted us to the increased need to expand the duty of care beyond business travelers to include all employees. This broader scope shifts the focus to people risk management to take work-from-anywhere employees into consideration.
We surveyed 674 business travelers worldwide to get a better idea of the current traveler experience. While more than three-quarters of business travelers said their employer treats traveler health, safety and security as a priority, only 36% of travelers said their employer takes care of their safety and security when working remotely.
Below I’ve outlined further findings from our survey and what you employers can do to help travelers and remote employees feel safe and secure wherever they are located.
Shift the focus of travel risk management to people risk management. In our work-from-anywhere era, employers must consider safety outside of the traditional office and communicate policies to their employees. Of the business travelers surveyed, 25% said they don’t know what their company does to ensure safety and security while working remotely, so make sure you’re keeping all employees updated about new and existing policies.
Allow anytime, anywhere check-ins. While employees are traveling, it’s paramount to have regular check-ins to confirm they’ve arrived at their destination, that they feel safe in their accommodations and ensure they are equipped to do their job. BCD Alert and TripSource® can aid travelers and security managers with “anytime, anywhere” check-ins. These technology solutions offer in-app communication with location-based emergency alerts and simple “I’m safe” status checks for travelers. If you find yourself dealing with a potentially dangerous situation, using these solutions provides a reliable and direct way to communicate.
Offer a pre-trip briefing. A pre-trip briefing doesn’t have to be reserved for a high-risk destination. It can be just as helpful to employees who are traveling to an unfamiliar area. Driving in a city I’ve never been to is stressful, so I like to research which routes to take to understand my surroundings. Feeling uncomfortable driving in a new destination is true for 43% of our respondents. Another 44% feel unsafe while walking in the streets and 40% do not feel safe while using public transportation. Fear of the unknown is common, so what can you offer employees ahead of these trips to help alleviate these stressors?
Ensure a smooth transition back to work when returning from a trip. A post-trip briefing is an easy way for employees to provide feedback on the trip and serve as a time to discuss any bumps that occurred along the road. You’re likely to meet with travelers after they return to work to discuss outcomes from the business trip, so take some extra time to open the conversation for a bigger discussion. Our survey shows that 39% of business travelers do not receive any type of support to ease them back into work following a trip, and 16% said they don’t know if such support exists. Offering personal time off and mental or physical health checks may be necessary in some situations.
Practice personal safety procedures. Travelers must stay vigilant in taking their own safety precautions. I like to think of this as traveling smart rather than being fearful. When I arrive at a hotel, I always take time to locate the emergency exits nearest to my room, the hotel restaurant or anywhere else I may be in the building. Double locking my door brings me peace. The majority of our travelers surveyed also agree that this contributes to their sense of security. Checking the destination’s medical requirements and having clear instructions about what to do in case of emergency were among the top measures that help travelers feel safe and secure.
As employers, our duty of care has always served to protect our business travelers, but as our workplace environments change, so should our policies. Employee wellbeing extends beyond business travel now, and we will continue to adapt to changes to mitigate risks and ensure safety no matter the location of an employee.