Collaborating with your travel manager to meet duty of care requirements will ensure your employees will never be left in the lurch.
As a business traveller, it’s reassuring to know you’ve got someone to call if there’s an emergency while you’re on the road. As an employer, having the necessary duty of care procedures in place is vital for employee safety and keeping communication lines open if trouble arises. Having strong duty of care practices are integral for a successful business travel program but are often an afterthought in some businesses.
So how can you ensure your travel program has appropriate duty of care procedures in place?
1. Enforce mandated booking channels and policies
Businesses that don’t stick to mandated travel policies are at greater risk of lapsing in duty of care. Using designated booking channels that are administered by a professional travel manager enables you to quickly track the location of your employees in the event of a crisis. If an employee has made a non-compliant booking from a travel website or has not declared their itinerary to a travel manager, it increases the time spent on traveller tracking and can delay the delivery of urgent information.
2. Get the best travel insurance for your program
Ensuring your company has an appropriate travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind in case of a medical issue. Your travel manager can analyse your requirements and recommend the most cost effective insurance policy for your employees. Communicating what you policy covers is also essential in case employees need additional cover for one off trips.
3. Take advantage of expert knowledge
The availability of transport, accommodation and communication options can vary greatly in remote and regional destinations. If your employees are visiting an out of the way place, consult your travel manager for specialised advice on health, safety, local market conditions and the most efficient travel and accommodation options.
4. Stay connected
The easier it is for employees to stay connected on the road, the easier it will be to make contact in an emergency. Incorporate roaming data plans into your travel budget and work with your travel manager to make internet access a priority service for your accommodation bookings.
5. Research cultural differences
Make sure your employees are aware of the local customs in their destination and the appropriate public behaviour. Conservative cultures, such as those in the UAE, have strict laws on personal conduct, dress and relationships. Laws regarding the consumption and possession of alcohol, prescription medication and drugs can differ greatly in other countries and penalties can be severe for breaches, whether they’re intentional or not.
6. Carry copies of important documents
Insist your travellers carry copies of their important documents in their hand luggage or on their person. Travel insurance documents are particularly important to have on hand in the event of emergency or lost luggage. Keeping printed copies of emergency phone numbers in case of a lost or damaged phone should also be a requirement.
7. Investigate foreign health risks
Picking up an illness or injury on a business trip is a productivity killer. Give your employees health guidelines for foreign destinations including advice on drinking water, suspect food outlets and unsafe areas. Also advise employees to take the necessary medical precautions for destinations that pose a risk of endemic diseases such as malaria.
8. Use online resources
Staying informed about social and political conditions in foreign destinations can assist in making an informed decision about going ahead with international business trips. Resources such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore website can give you up to date information and recommendations on travel to almost any destination in the world.