How to ensure your employees are safe
The Covid-19 pandemic is predicted to induce a loss of 810.7 billion U.S. dollars in revenue for the global business travel market in 2020 according to Statista. However, being a critical factor to many companies' growth, travel will slowly pick back up, but not without changing. Supply chains will be more locally-based, domestic travel will grow in the face of its international counterpart, train will reign over plane, and operations will become more sustainable.
So how can you keep travelling while ensuring your travellers are safe from door to door despite a second (or third) Covid-19 wave?
What can be done?
Look after your employees
It is essential that your employees be trained on good travelling practices. Prepare them through a quick message listing important points to keep in mind when travelling. Remind them that being responsible in the face of a pandemic starts with personal habits: washing hands, maintaining social distancing when possible, having the adequate medication needed on a trip, etc. Think of attaching the government traveller advice provided by both the country of departure and arrival for your employees to be fully aware of travel regulations. Urge them to store passports and cash securely and keep back-ups of all critical documents. Finally, remind your travellers that they must not travel if they feel unwell as this might induce future complications and put others at risk.
Regardless of travel, encourage regular medical check-ups at your company, and consider even offering a mandatory medical training. Corporate duty-of-care is increasingly relevant in Covid times. That is why it is important that companies take the initiative to pay for regular medical check-ups to ensure all its employees are safe. Our advice is to even make check-ups mandatory, as one sick person can put the whole employee body in jeopardy.
Your travel policy could be a vehicle of communication with your employees. Create and disseminate clear guidelines as part of it, considering some key points. Your modern travel policy should include a list of countries that travellers are allowed to visit, based on Covid numbers and country travel restrictions. You can also specify the ways in which your travellers are allowed to book, whether in-tool or out-of-tool. While flexibility is important, the in-tool option will allow you to better track your travellers and their operations. Decide of your rules for on ground transportation. The latter might be a safer way to travel in Covid times, as it prevents travellers from going through clustered airports, and avoiding many of the airline policies that might apply. This article will offer you better insight into rail regulations as well.
Ensure you know where your employees are going
Aside from mentioning which countries are to be avoided in your travel policy, aim to prevent dangerous travel by implementing a safety-based validation system. Facing the pandemic, control will indeed be an important aspect of travel within corporations.
Even after permission is granted, tracking your travellers' whereabouts as well as where they've been might prove helpful. In this vein, develop systems that will allow you to do this seamlessly. You can track your travellers either "offline" or "online" by opting for the right travel management tool. An integrated platform as such will allow you to do that without having to build your own maps, giving you seamless and complete oversight on your travellers' location.
Once travel locations have been set, do your homework. It is crucial to learn about the destinations and share critical information prior to departure. Consider checking the weather, important facilities, embassies, hospitals, cultural concerns, as well as Covid-related information, rules, and contacts to call if in need. Check out our Covid Resources for more information.
It might be wise to let your travellers work from home for a while after their trip, to prevent any risk of contamination if the traveller risked getting infected while on his or her trip.
Insure your travellers
Health travel insurance is no longer optional. Some countries will even prevent travellers from entering without a Covid-covering travel health insurance. And even when it is not demanded, we suggest you opt for an insurance that will cover your travellers on all potential risk. Also consider a personal liability coverage, to cover any potential extra fees.
Further, try adapting to Covid-19's uncertainties by opting for travel insurances concerning flights or train rides. Do your tickets allow for cancellation, delay, or even missed departures? (check our Airline Covid-19 Policies article for more information on this) Are they adapted for travel abandonment? Are your travellers' baggage covered if lost between airports? If necessary, will it be easy to repatriate your travellers?
Communication is always key. Try implementing a simple system allowing you to communicate with your travellers in case of emergency. This system not only needs to function 24/7, but also be a two-way channel, allowing your employees to reach out as well if need be.
To sum up
Corporate travel will slowly have to go back to its normal flow as companies resume business as usual. However, it is more than ever important to ensure traveller safety in these uncertain times. A Covid-adapted travel policy will prove essential to communicate rules and guidelines regarding travel. Information is key. On the one hand, your company should always be aware of its travellers' whereabouts and their health situation, while on the other, your travellers should be informed of their country of destination's Covid regulations on top of the usual checklist a traveller has. It is also essential to insure your travellers' health and trips in this time, and to maintain a constant communication channel wherever they may be.
Other related articles you might like:
- Introducing Fairjungle's Covid Travel Reboot Kit
- 7 safe European destinations to organise your seminar during Covid
- Optimising business travel management: the 4 archetypes
- 8 best practices for defining a Covid-19 travel policy