While the return of business travel may look different across companies and industries, one thing is universally consistent: corporate travel must adapt to a world shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether your organization has already returned to travel or is planning to in the near future, there are three important areas to address in order to limit liability and provide structure to your corporate travel program.
Implementing new policies and guidelines
The first step is to create a policy around which employees can travel and under what circumstances. Does a certain team have the green light to travel whenever necessary, or do employees need to request approval for all trips? You should also decide whether or not you want to restrict destinations based on distance or current quarantine requirements. For example, maybe you only want team members traveling to destinations within your region. Or perhaps all domestic locations are okay, but international travel requires special approval. Decide on your guidelines, then clearly communicate them to team members.
Establishing pre-trip procedures
The next step is to clearly outline exact pre-trip requirements for business travelers. To start, make sure their emergency contact information is up-to-date, and set expectations about hotel attachments so you can easily locate travelers in the event of an emergency. Ensure travelers understand requirements around COVID-19 testing as well, either prior to travel or upon arrival at their destination.
Additionally, decide whether you will be restricting bookings to a list of approved suppliers based on health and safety criteria or if travelers are allowed to book based on their personal preferences. You will likely want to require that all travel be booked through your travel management company to ensure Duty of Care. This is also an important time to review your organization’s policy regarding travelers adding personal time to a business trip.
Setting return requirements
Finally, you’ll want to have company policies in place regarding your travelers’ return. Will you have a mandatory quarantine period, or can employees return to the office right away? Establish any procedures for post-trip health-checks or symptom reporting, and you should also decide whether or not there will be a mandatory wait period between business trips. If a traveler should become ill while either on a trip or after returning home, you must have a concrete internal process for how this will be communicated and handled with HR, legal, and your risk management team.
Whether you’re evaluating your travel policy or need assistance selecting reputable suppliers, Professional Travel is here to customize options to meet your company’s needs. Contact us today.
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