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Responses to a survey by BCD Travel suggest strong traditional travel risk management practices but reveal shortcomings in support for future of work trends. More than three-quarters of business travellers say their employer treats traveler health, safety and security as a priority, but only 36% of travelers say their employer unconditionally takes care of their safety and security when working remotely and another 25% don’t know, according to a recent BCD Travel survey in August.
The survey of 674 business travellers worldwide aimed to examine travel risk management and the traveller experience, as well as a variety of measures that may improve the health, safety and security of business travelers on the road.
According to the survey respondents, companies are doing reasonably well supporting traditional travel risk management, but there’s a lack of support for newer workforce behaviors, specifically remote work and bleisure travel. Some 64% of travelers don’t know if they are covered by their organisation’s travel security and medical support if they extend their business trip for leisure purposes.
“This survey shows the growing need for a mindset shift from travel risk management to people risk management,” said Mike Janssen, global chief operating officer and chief commercial officer for BCD Travel. “Today’s duty of care policies have to address the realities of hybrid or work-from-anywhere workforces as well as the changing values around traveler wellbeing.”
A separate BCD survey in March on corporate travel program priorities among travel buyers placed traveller wellbeing as the second priority behind duty of care. Although some business traveller respondents from the most recent traveller survey in August said their employers provide post-trip support, such as personal time off (13%), requests for feedback post-trip (11%), or follow up with on-trip security or medical incidents (10%), 39% said they receive no support. An additional 16% said they don’t know if there is such support.
Other survey highlights:
- 75% of travellers rarely or never feel unsafe during a business trip. Of the 23% who sometimes or regularly feel unsafe, a slightly higher percentage of men than women feel unsafe, and an even higher percentage of non-binary/non-conforming travellers feel unsafe.
- When travellers do feel unsafe, it is most often when walking in the streets (44%), driving in an unfamiliar location (43%), or using public transportation (40%). Travelers are less likely to feel unsafe at a restaurant (6%) or in a hotel room (6%).
- The main actions travellers take to support their own safety include separating their hotel room key from its envelope (50%), taking a taxi or ride-hailing service instead of public transportation (46%), and checking the fire escape route at their hotel (40%).
- The top support measures from their organisations that travellers say make them feel safe and secure on a trip are travel alerts and security notifications (61%), a central contact in case of an emergency (53%), pre-trip destination security information (51%), and clear instructions on what to do in an emergency (44%).
People wellbeing needs to be top priority at any company. Otherwise, employers risk damage to employee physical and mental health and decreasing job satisfaction, which could lead to talent loss. People who don’t feel safe and cared for are unlikely to stay. This can cause reputational damage, rising costs and negatively impact company performance. Managing employee risks correctly, on the contrary, will give organisations an edge in talent recruitment and retention.
Travel buyers can better address duty of care by not only creating and maintaining an effective travel risk management program but by making the program and policies accessible and part of a culture that promotes health, safety and security. Some of the areas, that successful risk management should address, are:
- Hybrid workforces
- New sets of locations
- Work-from-anywhere policies
- Political unrest
- Changing values
- Travellers wellness
- Risk mitigation
Additionally, companies can look to technology tools, such as BCD Alert, COVID-19 Information Hub and security messaging to manage travel risk and keep employees informed on changing travel rules and risks.
BCD helps clients to adapt travel policies, communicate with travelers and provide the right traveller tools to support the changing needs of people risk management. BCD clients can also take the Traveler Security Program Assessment, which conducts an in-depth review of their duty of care practices and policies to check their effectiveness against today’s risks.
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