More than three-quarters of business travellers say their employer treats traveller health, safety and security as a priority, but only 36% of travellers say their employer unconditionally takes care of their safety and security when working remotely, according to a recent BCD Travel survey conducted earlier in August.
The survey of 674 business travellers worldwide aimed to examine travel risk management and the traveller experience, as well as a variety of measures that may improve the health, safety and security of business travellers on the road.
According to the survey respondents, companies are doing reasonably well supporting traditional travel risk management, but there’s a lack of support for newer workforce behaviours, specifically remote work and bleisure travel.
Some 64% of travellers do not know if they are covered by their organisation’s travel security and medical support if they extend their business trip for leisure purposes.
“This survey shows the growing need for a mindset shift from travel risk management to people risk management,” said Mike Janssen, global chief operating officer and chief commercial officer for BCD Travel. “Today’s duty of care policies have to address the realities of hybrid or work-from-anywhere workforces as well as the changing values around traveller well-being.”
A separate BCD survey in March on corporate travel programme priorities among travel buyers placed traveller well-being as the second priority behind duty of care. Although some business traveller respondents from the most recent traveller survey in August said their employers provide post-trip support, such as personal time off (13%), requests for feedback post-trip (11%), or follow-up with on-trip security or medical incidents (10%), 39% said they receive no support. An additional 16% said they don’t know if there is such support.
Other survey highlights include:
75% of travellers rarely or never feel unsafe during a business trip. Of the 23% who sometimes or regularly feel unsafe, a slightly higher percentage of men than women feel unsafe, and an even higher percentage of non-binary/non-conforming travellers feel unsafe.
When travellers do feel unsafe, it is most often when walking in the streets (44%), driving in an unfamiliar location (43%), or using public transportation (40%). Travellers are less likely to feel unsafe at a restaurant (6%) or in a hotel room (6%).
The main actions travellers take to support their own safety include separating their hotel room key from its envelope (50%), taking a taxi or ride-hailing service instead of public transportation (46%), and checking the fire escape route at their hotel (40%).
The top support measures from their organisations that travellers say make them feel safe and secure on a trip are travel alerts and security notifications (61%), a central contact in case of an emergency (53%), pre-trip destination security information (51%), and clear instructions on what to do in an emergency (44%).
People well-being needs to be the top priority at any company. Otherwise, employers risk damaging an employee’s physical and mental health and decreasing job satisfaction, which could lead to talent loss. People who do not feel safe and cared for are unlikely to stay. This can cause reputational damage, rising costs and negatively impact company performance. Managing employee risks correctly, on the contrary, will give organisations an edge in talent recruitment and retention.
Travel buyers can better address duty of care by not only creating and maintaining an effective travel risk management program but by making the programme and policies accessible and part of a culture that promotes health, safety and security. Some of the areas that risk management should address, include hybrid workforces, political unrest, work-from-anywhere policies; and traveller wellness.
For the complete survey results, click here.