Rethinking international business travel: How can businesses protect employees?

International business travel is unlikely to ever be the same again after the last year, but some important meetings abroad must still commence in the name of business. What will companies do to protect their employees when travelling overseas?

Only travel when completely necessary.

It’s important to only use business travel if it is completely necessary and can’t be done remotely.

For example, something like an important sales meeting with a potential client or a plan for the year ahead would be classed as necessary, important proceedings that would benefit the business. However, travelling abroad for a team building exercise or staff holiday / rewards would not be essential and it would be recommended to hold off on these types of travel until things have calmed down.

By travelling only when necessary, you will be putting your staff at less risk and will be considering the wellbeing of others around you as well as your team’s.

Consider the accommodation.

If you must travel for business, make sure that yourself and your employees are staying somewhere in which they can be comfortable, safe and at low risk of encountering others.

Smart accommodation choices will improve the experience for the travelling employee and reduce the risk of venturing abroad. For example, booking a serviced apartment in a busy city like Singapore would have a number of benefits over booking a hotel. Not only will this make your team member feel more at ease and comfortable like they are at home, but it will minimise any chances of cross contamination and bumping into anyone in the corridor like you might do in a hotel or hostel type setting.

Your employee will also be able to choose times that suit them to have the apartment serviced, for example, whilst they are out working to minimise the contact.

Ensure they have the right tools and support.

By providing your employees with the correct tools and supplies to do their job properly, this will give them one less thing to worry about. They will be able to feel confident in doing their job and feel safe and valued by the company. Be sure to offer your employee support and talk with them before, during, and after their travel so that you can be sure they are comfortable in what they are doing.

Something like travelling for work, which seemed so normal before, could be quite stressful and worrying for some to undergo now so it’s important that you are patient and listen to everything your employee has to say about the reasons why they may or may not want to travel this time around. These times won’t last forever and things will resume again in time, so it’s vital to keep a level head and ensure that your employees and team know that you’re doing the best you can to offer them support.