When the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, our world will certainly have changed. Hopefully, it will mostly change for the better. For many, this crisis is seen as a perfect opportunity to restart on more solid foundations. When it comes to business travel, ensuring the well-being of travellers will be particularly important, even more so than before.
First, let’s define the concept of well-being, as it can be interpreted in different ways. According to Dictionary.com, it is a “a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare”. It is therefore a question, among other things, of physical health as well as mental health.
Before the trip
At the early planning stage, ask yourself whether this trip is necessary. Would a virtual meeting be more appropriate considering the circumstances? Will the traveller need to be quarantined upon return? If so, will they be able to perform their work from home? Furthermore, there are several personal factors to consider. Does the employee feel anxiety related to travelling during the pandemic? Do they care for or live with a family member who is at risk and vulnerable in case of infection? Sending them on a business trip without taking these elements into consideration and the potential consequences to their health and motivation could be disastrous. It is therefore important to take into account not only the usual duty of care principles, but also to show empathy and patience for particular, individual circumstances.
With this said, you can make a world of difference in helping your travellers feel more confident about travelling; by leveraging good planning and good communication. The first step is to provide them the tools they need to travel safely. For example, providing them with protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer, verifying the measures in place and potential restrictions on the airline’s website as well as government recommendations, staying informed and informing them of the experience that awaits them, organizing a discussion with your company’s health and safety department to remind them of the best practices, corporate health and safety policies and recommendations. Prioritize suppliers (hotels, airlines, car rental companies) that have adopted the recommended safety measures and communicate why these suppliers are preferred. In short, you should take every opportunity to demonstrate their well-being is important to you!
During the trip
During the trip, stay in touch with travellers, to ensure everything is going according to plan; this will also serve to demonstrate you care about their well-being. In addition, make sure they know how to contact your team of travel agents, available 24/7 to support and assist them. Our team is trained to treat all travellers with empathy and have a wealth of experience in problem solving. Your employees will certainly feel less alone in this adventure, knowing that they are being looked after! We are there to help support them every step of the way.
After the trip
Once your employees are back from their trip, collect their feedback on their experience. This can be done through a survey, for example. How was their trip? Did they have everything they needed? What could have gone better? Not only will this allow you to continually improve the experience of your travellers, but in addition they will feel that you value their input in ensuring the well-being of your team. Keep in mind that you may need to allocate more time than usual to allow them to recover from their trip before sending them elsewhere as the virus has a 3-5 days incubation period. An employee will likely need to be quarantined upon return from their trip; make sure they have access to the assistance and equipment they need to work from home.
In short, in this new post-pandemic era, planning, communication and empathy will be more necessary than ever. This period of uncertainty affects everyone differently, it is therefore crucial to make the time to ensure your employees feel supported and looked after. They will remember how you handled this crisis, for better or worse, and it will likely have a big impact on your business success in the long run. If you can take the opportunity to show them that you care about them as employees but also as individuals, and you will have a win-win situation!