Ever went on a business trip and regretted why you did that, made mistakes you wished you had knew before hand? Well, below are steps you take in precaution to avoid these mistakes in your business travel.

  1. Develop a corporate travel safety policy

It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive—and a business travel safety and security policy is one of the best ways to fulfill your duty of care to employees while they’re traveling. This document should include all training, procedures, and resources required for your business to keep employees safe.

  1. Prioritize health and safety

In the global threat landscape, both predicable and unpredictable risks emerge, and travelers are particularly vulnerable. Your corporate travel safety policy should place employees’ health and safety front and center—with business priorities taking a back seat. It is your duty to care for employees no matter where they may be working, and traveling employees adopt a higher level of risk, which calls for an equal expansion of support and protection. Only when your people are safe and secure can they fulfill their own responsibilities to the business.

  1. Secure buy-in

Consult key stakeholders, particularly those responsible for travel risk management, about your plans for business travel. They can help support your team members while they’re abroad or bolster your safety planning with their perspective and expertise.

  1. Delegate responsibilities

As with any policy creation, assigning specific roles is best to ensure accountability and thoroughness. Travel safety can be a big undertaking depending on the destination and nature of the trip, so having a team to back you up will make complicated operations run more smoothly. Your plan should specify who is responsible for which tasks to ensure everything is taken care of.

  1. Conduct a risk assessment
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Business travelers face a wide range of threats and impediments, including but not limited to

  • Travel disruptions
  • Crime and terrorism
  • Political or social unrest
  • New travel laws
  • Disease outbreaks and health emergencies
  • Extreme weather
  • Natural disasters

Companies need to actively monitor an employee’s travel destination before a business trip to gain a clear understanding of whether there are any active or potential threats in that area. A formal threat assessment calls on stakeholders to analyze potential travel risks and determine whether preventive measures are necessary—or whether to avoid specific high-risk travel plans altogether. Travel safety maps are another useful way to visualize the threats affecting different locations and utilizing a threat intelligence system with threat history can give you an idea of previous incidents in an area.

  1. Ready your team for anything

The all-hazards approach can be a valuable framework to follow when designing standard practices for employee travel. While you don’t need to obsessively catalog every potential detail and create a corresponding solution (although you should do so for likely or high-impact events), you can cultivate the capacity, resources, and security measures to react to anything at any time.

  1. Create an essential travel safety checklist

Corporate travel safety policies will likely vary from company to company and trip to trip, but there are a few things to consider every time an employee travels:

  • Pre-trip planning
  • What to pack (safety-related)
  • Travel documents
  • COVID safety
  • How to find emergency services or healthcare
  • Ground transportation safety (e.g., car rental or public transport guidelines)
  • Communication protocols
  1. Maintain a living document

Once you create your corporate travel security policy, review and update it regularly—at least once per year. Communicate any changes to your employees and offer training refreshers. Without the most up-to-date plans, your employees may be ill-equipped to make the best safety choices before and during their trips.

  1. Provide safety training for traveling employees
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Safety training can help employees gain situational intelligence and know how best to react to threats, from natural disasters to political instability or terrorism. If something goes wrong, you won’t be there in person to help support your people. By training your team ahead of time and offering essential safe-travel advice, they will be ready to react to common threats and stay as safe as possible. In particular, situational awareness training can help people stay sharp even in unfamiliar environments and situations.

  1. Research and respect local customs

Many travelers remark on “culture shock” when immersed in a new place. Sometimes, visitors can transgress cultural boundaries without even knowing it. Provide education on local customs to help prepare your people and reduce any social friction they might encounter on their trip.

  1. Train to avoid violent incidents

Many business trips are perfectly peaceful, but violence is a potential threat that calls for advance planning, employee training, and threat monitoring of all locations your employees may visit. In 2017, 53% of business travelers were impacted by terrorism. While these risks may be difficult to imagine, it’s important to feel entirely confident in your preparedness efforts around potential violent incidents. Practicing drills with crisis simulation exercises can help your employees know how to react and stay aware of the risks if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

  1. Be mindful of individuals’ varying risks

Keep in mind which of your employees might be at greater risk while traveling. For example, 83% of female business travelers have safety concerns. Any business travel safety training should also include specific guidance and resources to address or report issues that may predominately affect marginalized groups, like assault, hate crimes, kidnapping, or sexual harassment. It is especially important to keep a record of travelers’ itineraries in these cases to help them as soon as possible if anything goes wrong.

  1. Educate travelers on insurance coverage
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If your company has a business travel insurance policy, ensure employees understand what it covers and how to use it in an emergency. For example, many policies cover expenses related to medical emergencies, trip cancellations or interruptions, medical evacuations, and lost valuables. If your traveling team members don’t know about that support, they might not use it and put themselves or their work at risk.

  1. Establish a reporting process

Providing employees with a method for reporting issues will lead to a better overall travel experience. Despite your best efforts, the world of travel is chaotic, and your plans may fall through. Stay in communication with agents managing travel plans to learn of canceled flights, double-booked accommodations, and other snags as soon as possible so you and your team can remedy them and keep your traveling workforce on track.

  1. Observe repeat travel spots between visits

Even after your employees return from a travel location, it’s a good idea to continue monitoring the area. This will give you a firmer idea of the local threat landscape and the frequency and severity of common risks. This is especially important if your employees travel to this area frequently, such as to visit a partner or client’s office.

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