Jun 25, 2018
The business travel world is changing, and it is important for your company to be prepared. In other countries, there are new laws being put into place that hold the company criminally responsible for its employees’ security and safety when traveling, so U.S. companies are keeping a close eye on this movement, and many have developed travel policies and emergency communication plans in response to it.
The latest trend is a practice called Duty of Care, where employers track their business travelers to alert them of any emergency situations near them while they are traveling in an effort to keep them safe. About 30% of U.S. companies have implemented Duty of Care.
Usually, business travelers answer questions such as whether they’d like to purchase traveler’s insurance and which amenities they want in a hotel but the latest question is how much knowledge they want their employers to have of their whereabouts while they are away. And, who is responsible if something happens to said employees while traveling for business.
While some find Duty of Care invasive, other travelers appreciate the intel. If an employee is traveling to Beijing, for example, when an unforeseen disaster strikes (tsunami, active shooter, etc.), the employer would take on the responsibility of alerting the employee as-it-happens. The concern, for some, is that privacy is even more limited due to the fact that the employer would need to know their employees’ locations at all times.
Another concern companies and business travelers have is where to draw the line. Often, employees tack weekend time or vacation days on to business trips so that they can experience travel destinations on their own time. So, when disaster, illness or injury strike during those times, whose responsibility is it? Or, perhaps one employee is an experienced traveler who doesn't need an alert about every little thing (traffic jams, for example) but a novice employee would appreciate all the help he or she can get. For traveling employees who extend their business trips to include vacations (“bleisure”-business and leisure), many employers are now extending travel and security benefits to them as well.
We talk about peace of mind quite often in our blog and this topic is no different. “We live in a global economy and even when faced with terror, we cannot live in fear. Businesses still need to do business and people will still need to travel, so it is imperative to plan, prepare and stay informed so that your business can make prudent decisions about its travel program,” commented Michael W. McCormick, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) executive director and COO, in regards to duty of care and risk management plans.
Just as your home or business would have an emergency plan in place for on-site crime and natural disasters, perhaps it’s time to implement an “off-site” safety plan for business travel. To learn more about Duty of Care and business travel related policies, contact GBTA.