Companies need to modernise travel policies and protect employees


Most companies' and organisations' travel policies are outdated, and they are not keeping up with the changing needs of a modern workforce.

According to the Travel Risk Map 2019, produced by risk specialists International SOS and Control Risks, more needs to be done by employers to reduce the risks that their staff face when they travel.

For instance, just over a quarter (26%) of organisations cover considerations for female travellers, while only a third (33%) cover cyber security in their travel policy. Fewer companies even provide considerations for travellers with disabilities or mental health issues (10% and 11% respectively). 

All these factors have already grown increasingly prominent in other facets of work and life but seem to be lacking in companies' travel policies.

The study is launched alongside the Global Business Resilience Trends Watch, a comprehensive Ipsos MORI survey of 640 people who organise, influence, or are responsible for, their organisation's travel and risk mitigation policies. Research was conducted in October 2018.

According to the study, organisations also face a myriad of challenges in protecting their mobile workforce. Educating employees about travel risks remains the greatest challenge and has become an increasing issue. Other issues include confirming with employees that they have read pre-travel information; tracking employee travel; communicating with employees during a crisis; and having adequate resources to manage health and security efforts.

Dr Doug Quarry, group medical director, information and analysis, at International SOS said, "Assessment of travel health and safety must look at the individual. It's not just about the destination - the personal profile of the traveller, including gender, age, sexual orientation and mental health status can change the risks they will face. Businesses that focus on ensuring their travel policies reflect a modern workforce will better meet their Duty of Care and sustainability."

He added, "Education and training are essential to reduce travel-related risk. It is surprising that we are still seeing less than half of organisations taking these basic steps to satisfy their Duty of Care."

Sally Napper, security specialist at International SOS and Control Risks said, "Almost half of decision makers believe that travel risks will increase next year. Our research reveals that the evolving travel habits of the modern workforce are being overlooked by many organisations. 

"Ensuring policies stay relevant to the needs of a modern workforce helps to keep your people safer and better informed, and also demonstrates the continuing importance of adaptive risk management programmes - and could help win board approval and support for other initiatives."

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