Supporting your people during COVID-19
Supporting your people during COVID-19
As COVID-19 dominates domestic and international headlines – open, transparent and timely communication is the key to reducing anxiety amongst business travellers. Words like pandemic and epidemic can create unnecessary fear, so business managers need to take the lead to reassure travellers that their wellbeing is paramount.
Travel managers need to take the lead to reassure travellers that their wellbeing is paramount. Here are our tips and guidance to ensure your travellers are supported before they fly, whilst they are away and once they’ve returned.
Communicate openly and regularly
The inherent uncertainty around COVID-19 is naturally unsettling, which is why factual and timely updates are important. Keeping the lines of communication open with your employees and travellers also sends a clear message that you take their health – and that of your clients – very seriously. Clearly communicate your preparedness and any new strategies you are putting in place.
Listen and reassure
Understanding the concerns of travellers is important. As essential business travel for work-related means remains the only mandated reason for international travel from the India at time of writing, being aware of the concerns of both current and future travellers is paramount.
Recognise that some travellers will also experience increased anxiety due to the possibility of their travel being disrupted mid-trip. The potential for delays and cancellations can create concern as travellers fear the possibility of being away from for longer than expected. With the international situation changing so quickly, suspended services and country entry bans can catch travellers unaware. The recent proliferation of mandated quarantines in various countries can also have a tangible impact on the traveller experience.
Keep to the facts
Reassure travellers that good hygiene is very effective against contracting the virus, and FCM’s trusted air and land suppliers have been implementing COVID-19 protocols to improve traveller safety. It’s essential for travellers to understand the current laws on COVID-19 in the destination country, such as mandated mask wearing, before starting their journey. Knowing the facts will make the on-trip experience easier.
It’s essential for travellers to understand the current laws on COVID-19 in the destination country, such as mandated mask wearing, before starting their journey. Knowing the facts will make the on-trip experience easier.
It’s important to have good real-time methods to communicate with all employees, especially those travelling. Ensure that your travel management company has robust risk management procedures, including a mobile app to contact travellers if the situation changes and a 24/7 emergency hotline.
Revise policies if necessary
Be flexible and open to adjusting company policies to reflect the situation. This includes travel policies, work from home policies, sick/carer leave and workplace hygiene procedures. Also commit to reviewing policies as the situation changes, potentially allowing more flexible hours. Involve employees by asking them what issues they see potentially arising from business travel when it becomes more viable again.
Draw on your travel expert’s resources
Account managers and traveller bookers can call on the in-depth industry knowledge available to them through their FCM travel manager. Our experts have the resources to advise on travel policy changes, traveller risk management and the latest country travel restrictions, along with advanced technology to communicate quickly and efficiently with travellers as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
To help you make an informed decision about the safety and wellbeing of your travellers during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak we have prepared the following travel advisories. It is your responsibility to ensure your travellers comply with any government travel restrictions.