A Complete Guide to a Modern Travel Policy
As employees take back to the road, they’re right to assume that the status quo will be different. As we’ve discussed before, many companies are using this time to look their travel programs. Unused airline credits and new protocols are shifting travel managers’ “nice-to-haves” to “need-to-haves” and policies are changing as a result. Employees will have a lot to re-acquaint themselves with before heading out on their first, post-Covid business trip. A complete modern travel policy needs to look different.
Over the past weeks, we’ve analyzed our clients’ policies, identifying key trends about the way companies think about travel. Today, we’re talking about what new considerations you might need to make for a complete modern travel policy.
Pre-covid, advanced booking (booking more than 14 days in advance) was strongly encouraged to reduce overall trip cost. However, because of the newly associated risk of taking to the road, companies are beginning to encourage employees to book their flights and hotels much closer to their date of departure to ensure that the location where they’re heading to is safe for travel and that the employee is healthy for the trip.
Some companies are also paying close attention to the vendors’ new cleaning policies; shorter booking windows makes it easy to ensure that employees can choose vendors that are doing their due diligence. Other companies encourage their employees to choose business class to make sure they can stay socially distant from other passengers. All of these changes raise the question around how companies can continue to remain cost conscious while also prioritizing traveler health and safety.
Duty to duty of care
Covid has forced many companies to think about traveler health more holistically. As licensed therapist and mental health expert, Megan Bearce, explained in our webinar on traveler mental health, companies need to be upfront with their communication and policies on wellbeing.
But more than just thinking holistically, companies are also considering their travel policies as working legal documents. The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for their employees who have a disability or chronic illness, including depression and anxiety. As Harvard Business Review shows that quarantine has exacerbated anxieties around travel. This means that companies need to thoughtfully consider ways to make their policies and programs more flexible for employees.
Some companies are leaning into the idea of choice by giving employees the ability to book outside of their policies. This might mean allowing business class regardless for all employees or allotting for booking outside of policy to give employees flexibility and choice. Some companies are even encouraging their employees to stay with family or friends when traveling to reduce anxieties that come from staying in hotels with strangers.
Taking the long road on a modern travel policy
Long gone are the days of the two day business trip to London. As safety precautions and mandatory quarantines become the norm for overseas travelers, companies are considering new guidelines for international travel. In addition to creating new approval procedures for trips abroad, companies are requiring that workers quarantine upon arrival.
Companies are also considering mandatory post-trip quarantine periods for travelers to make sure their family and friends stay safe. Long stay visits might shift where employees choose to stay — meaning less nights in hotels and more Airbnbs.
What’s a complete modern travel policy?
Regardless of if your company is looking to begin travel in 2021 or has continued trips through Covid, your policy will look different for travelers. This is the way to ensure that you have the modern travel policy.
And if you’re considering how to make your travel policy modern and complete, find some time to connect with our sales team here.