The health and safety of your employees is paramount when they’re travelling, especially overseas. So, if your employees travel for business, it’s a business travel manager's responsibility to ensure their safety and security as far as possible. You also need to clearly communicate to employees what to do in the event of an emergency or unexpected outcomes.
What is business travel safety?
Business travellers face a range of risks including:
- Travel disruptions
- Natural disasters
- Extreme weather conditions
- Disease outbreaks and health emergencies
- Crime and terrorism
- Political or social unrest
- New travel laws
Companies and business travel managers need to actively monitor an employee’s travel destination before a business trip. This is to gain a clear understanding of whether there are any active or potential threats in that area. A business travel safety policy is a corporate document that covers risk scenarios employees might encounter during their corporate trip.
Assessing risk during corporate travel
A formal threat assessment calls on business travel managers to analyse potential travel risks and determine whether preventive measures are necessary — or whether to avoid specific high-risk travel plans altogether. A great way to visualise threats affecting different locations are travel safety maps.
Also, utilising a threat intelligence system that has access to risk history can give you an idea of previous incidents in an area. Find out more about business travel risk management here.
Creating a business travel safety plan
It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Having a business travel safety and security policy in place is one of the best ways to fulfil the corporate duty of care to employees while they’re travelling. This document should include all training, procedures and resources required for your business to keep employees safe.
Duty of care and corporate travel safety
As business travel begins to peak once more, companies have a duty of care to provide their employees with the necessary tools and resources for a safe and successful trip. Whether you’re integrating business travel security into an existing safety policy or creating a separate document, preparing for secure travel comes with many benefits:
- Enhanced safety
- Increased employee trust and retention
- Saving time and money
- Fostering a culture of safety
The top travel safety tip is to be prepared for everything. With business travellers exposed to a wide variety of risks, it’s vital for companies to create a culture of safety that extends to employees’ diverse destinations. That way, they can stay safe and perform at their best.
Travel safety guidelines for employees should not be a static document. Constantly reassess relevant threats and update the plan to account for changes to the travel programme or policies and add your company’s assessment data. It’s vital to account for all hazards and make sure employees have the latest information about how to respond. Use the tips and tools covered to help keep your business safe and secure, and to give employees peace of mind during business travel.
9 business travel safety tips for business travellers
1. Purchase a local SIM card where possible
Depending on how long your corporate trip will extend, it may be worth business travellers purchasing a local SIM card. This way, travellers will avoid expensive data roaming charges to keep utilising their working phone abroad. It’ll also ensure travellers are able to keep in touch with family members and to research their local surroundings. Access to Google Maps is also invaluable to help travellers get around and navigate public transportation.
2. Keep your important belongings safe
When travelling for business, you’re likely going to carry with you very crucial documents that you need to handle with care – both professional and personal. These documents might include:
- Driver's licence
- Work visa
- Entry authorisation
- Contract documents
- Competitive research
- Product information
- Confidential data
A way to keep them safe is either to book a room with a safe or to invest in an anti-theft wallet. Find more tips for a good business trip packing checklist and make sure you’re always prepared. Making digital copies are important documents can be of real use during a business trip.
3. Ensure access to emergency money
When travelling, it’s important not to keep all your money in one place in case of mishap. Having emergency money, particularly in different forms, is vital. Test out local ATMs with small amounts on your card and always keep a small amount of cash in pockets or bags. It’s better to have more than you need than to be without cash when you need it.
4. Note down local embassy details
It’s highly important to do some research before business travel, particularly when entering a new country. Look up the nearest embassy, so that in case of emergency, such as political unrest or even adverse circumstances such as a stolen passport, embassies can help business travellers through the situation and provide up-to-date safety information.
5. Purchase corporate travel insurance
The nature of corporate travel means that employees are often travelling with sensitive information and expensive office equipment. Purchasing travel insurance protects travellers in case of cancellation, delay and losing personal possessions. This ensures business travellers are safe and secure across the board.
6. Share your accommodation details
Particularly for solo business travellers, sharing accommodation details with a family member or loved one can be very helpful in case of emergency. Sharing general plans or an itinerary is also important. Keeping colleagues and your team lead aware of your travel plans is also highly recommended.
7. Connect to private virtual networks
During corporate travel, employees might need to log on and work from airport lounges, cafes or local offices. Logging in to private networks can protect work data and protect devices from being compromised, especially when using open networks or public Wi-Fi. Travellers should also consider using a screen protector that hides your laptop screen for anyone with a wandering eye.
8. Note down local emergency details
One of the most important travel tips is also researching local emergency services in case of dangerous circumstances. That includes locating the nearest police station, saving in your phone the universal emergency number and even adding in your agenda the phone number to your bank or credit card company.
9. Watch out for travel scams
Unfortunately, travel scams are pretty common in most parts of the world and visitors tend to be easy targets. Double-check before you leave about what kinds of scams are specifically popular at your destination, so you can be aware of dangers. In addition, you can reach out to other travellers for safety tips and read up on blogs and travel experiences to understand what professional scammers are doing so you can avoid it.