Before COVID, employee wellbeing looked different for businesses. You might have previously been focused on helping employees feel at ease when on a business trip abroad or making sure they received enough sleep when travelling. Now, on top of these wellbeing concerns, new ones have arisen. From stress and anxiety-inducing contamination worries to maintaining and implementing new social distancing measures – the business world as we know it has changed, perhaps forever.
A travelling employee will undoubtedly feel anxious and uneasy about what business travel will now look like in the post-COVID world. Can they still travel freely across multiple countries? Will they be able to travel safely, while maintaining social distancing, if necessary?
A survey conducted by International SOS on emotional wellbeing found out some pretty interesting information. The survey results reveal just how much business travel can impact the mental health of employees. Lack of work-life balance was the number one stress factor for travellers, with 61% reporting that working in a high-risk environment has had the most significant impact on their workforce. The survey also found that 49% of European organisations don’t provide emotional support for their mobile workers.
Viewing these statistics in light of COVID is more than a little concerning, considering this survey was undertaken years before the pandemic struck the global economy. The downtime many companies are currently still facing offers up the perfect opportunity to rethink and tackle the emotional support, or lack thereof, offered to travelling employees and how ground travel can support them through this period and beyond.
So, how can your ground transport provider enhance wellbeing and security in a post-COVID world? Here’s how:
Plan your ground travel exit strategy
The world is still battling COVID, so it can be easy to push planning to the back of your mind, but you mustn’t adopt this mindset. Planning an exit strategy is something that takes careful consideration – after all, the safety and wellbeing of your employees should be paramount – and you’ve been given the gift of time—the time to plan and map out a solution to your ground transportation.
Planning an effective ground travel exit strategy should prioritise the needs of your travellers, taking onboard comfort, ease and safety. Using a ground travel provider that consolidates all your travel expenditure into one dashboard, for example, can help your finance team understand how frequently trips are being made. It can also help pinpoint areas where savings can be made, and, most importantly, your travel manager can see where employees are at all times when travelling. This means you can keep them updated if certain areas suddenly become unsafe to travel through. This approach enables your organisation to take a reactive approach to any changes globally, particularly amidst the pandemic.
The safety and familiarity using the same ground travel provider can offer travellers ensures their trip, wherever they travel, is straightforward and stress-free. Foreign travel can induce anxiety – whether it’s the language barrier, the unknown city or a different culture – having that one constant ground travel provider can give your employee an element of ease.
Improve your internal communication strategy
Communication is essential in every aspect of a business, but when employees are travelling, communication is paramount. Being able to communicate efficiently with a fast response from both parties can create trust between your company and its employees.
For the employee to know and trust that you will promptly respond to their query, this can reduce confusion and mitigate anxiety. And for the travel manager to understand that the employee is safe and happy is also important. If Wi-Fi is available, chat apps including WhatsApp and Skype can be a cheap alternative to SMS messaging and a faster option than email.
Improve your wellbeing policy
According to Harvard Business Review, stress has a lot to answer for, with 60-80% of workplace accidents being attributed to stress and an estimated 80% of doctor visits are due to stress.
As an employer, you are responsible for your employees as they travel around the world representing your organisation. The wellbeing of your employees should take priority, always.
How can you improve your wellbeing policy?
- Encourage staff to work from home if they’re feeling unwell or overwhelmed
- Insist staff separate their work from their family life, ensuring they make time to call loved ones while working away. Time spent away from the family can take its toll on your employees’ mental health,
- Offer an ‘open door’ manager policy, so your staff members feel they can approach their line manager with any issues or concerns about their work or personal life.
- Take the time to listen to your employees and broach wellbeing questions. Sometimes employees just need permission to speak freely about their problems.
- Take time to work out a solution to their problems together.
After COVID, your organisation should be prioritising health and safety – particularly with the employees travelling locally and internationally. If they don’t feel comfortable and secure, you’re doing them a disservice.
When it comes to ground travel – should you have to compromise between savings and safety? Read our latest blog post next: Savings or safety – should you have to choose?