The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely changed how we travel. The risks have never been higher, and this means all businesses should be looking at building or adapting a new travel policy. Business travel is not as easy as booking a trip and boarding a flight anymore, there are many steps to be considered in the process. This is more likely to remain the trend in the foreseeable future.
For many, this crisis is seen as a perfect opportunity to restart on more solid foundations for the company’s travel policy. Prior to COVID-19, employees’ interests did not always align with the company travel policies. But during this unprecedented time, employees must book flights through the company’s preferred channels to ensure their safety and uninterrupted communication.
As many countries open borders to business travelers and ease travel restrictions, companies should have more comprehensive travel policies to protect their employees. This does not mean that all business travel should resume, the company should closely monitor if a business trip is essential.
Determine if the trip is necessary
At the early planning stage, as an employer, ask yourself whether this trip is necessary. Would a virtual meeting be more appropriate considering the circumstances? Will the traveler need to be in quarantine upon return? If so, will they be able to perform their work from home, considering the mandatory quarantine requirements? What travel advisories are in effect for the destination country? Furthermore, there are several personal factors to consider. Does the employee feel anxiety related to traveling during the pandemic? Do they care for or live with a family member who is at risk and vulnerable in case of infection?
Sending them on a business trip without taking these elements into consideration and the potential consequences to their health and motivation could be disastrous. It is therefore important to take into account not only the usual duty of care principles, but also to show empathy and patience in particular, individual circumstances.
All travel policies must prohibit any unnecessary business trips. The policy should clearly outline what is considered as “Essential business travel”. Whether it is domestic or international travel, your travel policy should lay clear guidelines for employees before they decide to book a business trip.
Age and health of the worker are other important factors to determine if it is safe for an employee to travel. Employees with underlying conditions and older show severe symptoms and are at higher risk. According to WHO “Evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe coronavirus disease. These are older people (that is people over 60 years old); and those with underlying medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer).”
Align with business goals
Align the travel policy with the company’s business goals and objectives. Do employees need to travel to meet to achieve business objectives? Can the work be done remotely? A study by Accenture evaluates gross corporate overspend in the business travel category between 20% and 30%. Travel policy must aim to reduce travel overspend. Ensure the management is aligned on the travel policy before sharing it. The policy should be aligned with the company culture, across departments and offices.
Communicate the message
Travel policy should be easy to comprehend and address all concerns relating to employee’s safety, hotel safety, preferred booking channels and means of communication. It should also clearly determine how the company plan to encourage travel compliance.
Upgrade your technology to reflect the new travel policy
Once your travel policy is set in place, find a comprehensive travel management solution that helps implement the travel policy effectively. The tool should enhance travel experience to encourage employees to use it.
Delight your travelers with Zii, which offers a suite of features that makes the user experience as simple as it gets, from booking a trip to choosing the best hotels and having easy access to all the information the employees need for their trip, including travel advisories.
Easy to Comprehend Travel Policy- Zii guides your every step of the way by showing the employees your travel policy guidelines. You have what you need to know when you need it. No need to read through pdf to know the travel policy anymore.
Reduce Travel Overspend- Traveler’s choices are not always aligned with the policy and are difficult to track with traditional travel management tools. Zii points you in the right direction and shows you where to identify savings opportunities and control overspend.
With this said, you can make a world of difference in helping your travelers feel more confident about traveling during COVID-19; by leveraging good planning and good communication and easy to follow travel policy. Request a demo to see how Zii can make this happen for you.