Article: Future of work: Helping business travellers get moving again!

Employee Engagement

Future of work: Helping business travellers get moving again!

Organizations will need to rework business travel policies, attentive & responsive minds, and an openness to new ways of working.
Future of work: Helping business travellers get moving again!

The rapid administration and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines is having a profound impact on resumption of business travel. Although COVID-19 vaccinations are helping to enable travel, it has further emphasised the complexities organisations and travellers need to consider. organisations will need to rework business travel policies, attentive & responsive minds, and an openness to new ways of working. 

As employee Health & Wellness becomes a greater focus for organisations, understanding the impact of business travel on a company and its employees has become critical. For organisation’s to make a call on being #Travelready and finding the right time to return to face-to-face meetings will be a nuanced decision based on multiple factors extending beyond employee vaccinations. 

Organisations will need to assess the business traveller’s health exposure, risk exposure and duty of care to help resume safe business travel and readying their employees for a successful return to  business travel. For travel managers, the scope of the role has expanded: responsibilities were once limited to providing compliant travel management partner choices, budgeting sufficiently, justifying travel, and assessing destination risk. Today, additional criteria includes confirming satisfactory pandemic protocols, implementing duty of care provisions, navigating government regulations, and assessing employee willingness and ability to travel. And on top of all of that, employee wellness, mental resilience, sustainability, and mobility must also be considered in the paradigm.

Addressing the safety concerns of those that are ready and willing to get back on the road and navigating the cross border travel complexity  and restrictions will be of paramount importance for business managers. Many issues will need to be considered before the return to offices and business travel. With International SOS support and assistance some organisations are already working towards find answers to these challenges and be #Travelready. 

Below is a checklist of key items for organisations to be #Travelready - 

  • Evaluate your travel risk policies and advise on the gaps
  • Ensure you have prompt access to the right information at local, regional and country levels. 
  • Communicate updated policies and information accordingly and inform relevant stakeholders. It is extremely important that travellers and managers should be advised about the latest development where travel is being considered.
  • Prepare to assist travellers and their dependents with the COVID-19 arrangements before, during and post travel (COVID-19 testing requirements, vaccination information, isolation, etc)
  • Provide medical and security assistance on the ground for any need including evacuation if required.
  • Support the emotional and mental health wellbeing of your travellers including any travel related anxieties
  • Acquire GDPR compliant health wallets which are able to exchange health and vaccination status seamlessly across locations.

To ensure the execution of the above checklist it is extremely important for travel managers to:

  1. Align executive support for the above need to change. 
  2. Obtain the right expertise on Medical & Security front to help design and execute the above #Travelready checklist. 
  3. Leverage technology for organization wide communication & governance of your #Travelready program. 

Strategic advisors to the organisations are helping them establish a workforce resilience programme that would allow each employee to self-assess whether travel was possible, and under what restrictions. Enabling organisations to demonstrate how they are continuing their business in a COVID secure way, and not exposing their people to unnecessary health risks. 

From region to region, the situation remains very fluid, but we are slowly seeing those that travel for work beginning to resume business trips to remote sites, clients, and locations both domestic and international. And those that do, or manage those that do, will require trusted resources to impart vital and accurate insights. Several organisations are into the job of keeping their clients and business travellers informed by monitoring the latest travel guidance and requirements and providing on ground medical and security assistance on need basis.

Finally, organisations need to think on how to adopt the right Health Wallet which can help travelers with access management by presenting status at different locations across the world (eg: offices, hotels, airports, airlines etc.). Mobile apps like the AOKpass provides a privacy-preserving, digitally authenticated, secure and portable copy of an employee’s medical records, approved by a medical professional and only accessible by the individual employee. The AOKpass technology is built upon three core principles - privacy, security, and portability - to enable individuals to present their health status without ever losing control of their medical information. As organisations look for ways to protect employees and a safe and sustainable return to the workplace and business travel, several technologies are able to provide the ability to securely verify the health status of their employees.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, #GuestArticle

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