Many companies have employees who either work or travel abroad. Many managers who require employees to travel internationally or work overseas are probably unaware of requirements and considerations relating to such activities. If you have employees who work or travel abroad then you need to read this article. This article will present Issues that managers need to consider.
Factors that managers need to consider include:
Let’s explore each consideration in greater detail.
Legal and Duty of Care requirements
Before sending any employee overseas on business, managers need to be fully aware of the legal and Duty of Care requirements with regards to travel and working overseas. Most western legislation stipulates rigorous Duty of Care standards and Occupational Health & Safety requirements has provision for remote or lone workers which may apply to business travelers. Just because employees have left the physical jurisdictional boundary on work related travel does not mean that employer no longer has a legal, moral and ethical obligation to them.
Once the legal framework has been defined and understood, there are some essential Pre travel factors to be considered.
Pre Travel Considerations
Prior to the commencement of business travel or overseas assignment the following issues need to be addressed:
Another important aspect in protecting business travelers is providing the correct insurance coverage.
Prior to travel managers need to ensure that their employees are fully covered with appropriate insurance that includes general travel insurance; medical insurance to include treatment and repatriation; life and injury insurance and specialised insurances. There may be some locations, activities or situations that standard policies will not cover.
Not all travel providers, such as airlines, have the same safety and security standards and therefore require investigation before use.
The Travel Means
Not only is it important that managers, through a structured travel booking and approval process, have oversight and control of where employees are traveling they also need to be aware of and approve the method of travel. This includes international travel and travel undertaken once in location. Consideration needs to be given to the following:
Consideration should not only be limited to travel means but should also cover accommodation.
Most companies base their accommodation selection criteria and approval process purely along financial lines with little or no consideration for safety or security. This may be acceptable in some first world locations, but fails to meet Duty of Care and Occupational Health and Safety obligations in most instances, particularly when travel is undertaken in the developing world. Many budget or cheaper accommodation venues will not have adequate levels of security and may even be hubs for illegal activity. Many will not meet basic safety standards with inadequate fire detection and suppression systems, poor evacuation routes and dangerous electrical wiring to mention a few typical issues. It is therefore critical that company accommodation selection criteria take safety and security into consideration in order to provide adequate protection to their business travelers.
Management also needs to consider what contingencies need to be covered – what can go wrong, what is most likely to go wrong?
Although the majority of business travel may be completed without incident or accident things can and do go wrong. Therefore managers need to ensure that appropriate contingency measures and plans are in place prior to travel. Contingencies should include the following:
Managers may be unknowingly exposing their staff to risk and themselves to possible legal action. This article has highlighted a number of areas of concern that managers need to be aware of in order to adequately protect their business travelers. Adequate planning, preparation and preventative measures can significantly reduce risk exposure for business travelers. Ensuring this has been effectively undertaken is a management responsibility.
Copyright Mick Donaldson