Ensuring duty of care

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Travel insurance

UK-based insurance and assistance provider Collinson Group has highlighted key aspects of a travelling employee’s journey where it believes proper consideration should be given to achieve an ‘optimal balance between cost savings and employees’ wellbeing and productivity’.

The four areas are: class of travel, access to airport lounges, hotels and ‘bleisure’. For class of travel, Collinson Group advised employers to consider whether loss of productivity due to tiredness would be worth the financial savings, and ensure that they are mindful of their duty of care and take in factors such as the full trip itinerary, age and health of the traveller, and recovery time in specific territories when making decisions so they do not unintentionally put the health and safety of their travelling employees at risk.

Regarding access to airport lounges, the company stated that these can become a ‘welcome resort for travellers who just need a quiet place to rest and refresh themselves’. It also highlighted that well-rested employees are better at making decisions and much more alert to their environments – which Collinson said are both desirable qualities for business travellers who have to navigate in unfamiliar surroundings.

In terms of hotels, Collinson Group said that booking employees into cheaper accommodation without fully vetting the hotel facilities, location and surroundings can present a real threat to employees’ safety in a foreign environment. Hotels located in business areas are more tailored to the needs of business travellers, the company suggested, and their locations are usually well supported by transportation infrastructure, and employees can reduce their travel time if they are staying in areas closer to their business meetings.

Regarding the fourth area, ‘bleisure’, Collinson Group highlighted that this is a growing trend and that, assuming certain parameters – such as a limit to the number of days employees can add on to a business assignment and the understanding that any leisure costs are self-financed – are laid out,  combining business with pleasure gives employees the opportunity to attain cultural knowledge and alleviate work stress.

“Companies should evaluate what they are offering to their employees in the context of their wellbeing and how that might link to travel risks within a broader framework. We are increasingly seeing a convergence between what business travellers must have, and what previously might have been considered as simply nice-to-haves,” commented Randall Gordon-Duff, head of product, corporate travel, Collinson Group. “Employees’ productivity needs to be predicated on safety and health first and foremost, before they can make a positive business impact. The lower the quality of a trip, the higher the human costs in the form of fatigue, work overload, impact on personal relationships and a poor work/life balance among others.”