Duty of care: Keeping your travellers safe
Top of most companies’ priority list used to be cost savings but now, it is duty of care, thanks to globalisation and an increasingly dangerous world. Duty of care of care is more complicated than ensuring an organisation’s employees travel safely; it applies to events from social unrest to adverse weather conditions such as hurricanes, and is backed by equally diverse measures such as ensuring travellers are appropriately inoculated to having a company culture that encourages them to talk about their health, mental and physical.
In addition, it is the responsibility of numerous disciplines – HR, security, risk management, senior management and travel – and cannot be consigned to just one of these, so it needs somebody to take responsibility for managing all parties. And it applies not only to employees of the company concerned but also international assignees, locals, expats and dependents.
Assess the destination
One destination may present a variety of potential threats: malaria in the north but not in the south; a greater likelihood of street crime in one city than in another. Other factors can also present a risk in otherwise ‘safe’ countries – unfamiliarity with a destination causes greater vulnerability, unexpected eruption of a chronic health condition or lost medication, opportunistic crime and travel delays. Consider issuing guidance on the use of alcohol; some companies do not allow travellers to charge alcoholic drinks back to the business, for example.
Tiredness when driving should also be taken into account: do not allow travellers to drive home after a long flight; encourage them to take a break every two or three hours when driving for long periods. And make sure travel policy gets buy-in from the top: if travellers can see that the CEO is taking it seriously, they are more likely to be compliant.
People are loath to discuss any chronic illness in case it is perceived to undermine their ability to do the job, but a company is responsible for employees in all circumstances and it is important for them and their TMC to know what the risks are; similarly, mental health conditions. And although organisations cannot – and should not – babysit employees, open communication about not working 18 hours a day, having time away from their mobile phone and being self-aware enough to ensure they are not running themselves into the ground should be part of company culture, even in professions where people are on call 24 hours a day.
Travel insurance is another consideration: ask your provider to give you a list of the countries where it needs advance notification of travel or where specific insurance is required. If you are not sure if your policy covers you for business travel, then double check. If you are still not sure, ask your TMC if they can put you in touch with a more suitable provider.
Your travel partner's role
Your TMC will know where your travellers are, when and why so that they can provide a 24-hour service and are able to react immediately to any emergency. At Travel Counsellors, our in-house Duty Office means we are ready to react should something happen out of the blue keeping. Keeping your travellers safe and sound.
Want to find out more about how we can help keep your travellers safe when travelling on business? Please talk to your Travel Counsellor. If you don't yet have a Travel Counsellor, please contact us and we will be in touch.