Savings or Safety – should you have to choose?

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The current global pandemic has had a profound impact on the economy. With the devastating effects on businesses, it’s clear the virus shows no signs of discrimination. Every sector has been impacted, including the corporate travel sector. Many industries have adapted their offering to support those in need, whether that’s taking vulnerable patients to hospital appointments or ensuring key workers arrive safely at their place of work. As other businesses regroup and try to cut costs, the question of choosing safety or savings is an additional battle no one wants to fight. Of course, you need to rebuild your business, but at what cost?

As a travel manager, you have a responsibility to keep your employees safe. In this current climate, is there a way to balance both safety and savings when it comes to ground travel? Or should you have to prioritise one over the other?

The natural, and more responsible, option, is, of course, choosing safety. And safety should always be more important. But what about the cost to your business? The financial impact on your business is crucial to maintaining the lives of many employees and stakeholders. But choosing to cut costs shouldn’t implicate yours or your employees’ safety.

If you feel you’ve reached this catch-22 situation, this piece is for you. We’re sharing corporate travel advice to help you keep your employees safe without negatively affecting your bottom line when travelling.

If you feel you’ve reached this catch-22 situation, this piece is for you. We’re sharing corporate travel advice to help you keep your employees safe without negatively affecting your bottom line when travelling.

Plan ahead for business travel

Planning even the shortest ground trips is essential. It’s important that during and after COVID-19, your firm is seen to be taking responsible steps toward caring for its employees.

How will planning your ground travel help? Planning trips in advance give you and your employee time to think about social distancing and how you will implement it safely from leaving the office to arriving at your meeting. Without planning, trips can become ad-hoc – ad-hoc means you won’t have adequate time to plan and costs soon mount up.

Without a plan, your employee might feel anxious or stressed about attending the meeting in the first place. Encourage staff members to communicate frequently about their plans to travel, making sure the travel manager and financial teams are aware of their movements so they can keep track of spending.

Ask yourself ‘Is this trip essential’?

To keep employees safe, employers should be asking themselves ‘is this trip essential?’. If you can categorically say your meeting falls into the ‘unnecessary’ bracket, you should consider conducting a virtual meeting. Virtual meetings a popular replacement for in-person meetings, and they can keep the cost of your ground travel down and ensure your employees’ safety. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can adequately prepare and deliver virtual meetings, who knew?

Virtual meetings via video conferencing software have skyrocketed over these last few months, and it’s easy to see why:

  • Virtual video calls are better than your average phone call. Being able to see the call participant is essential when establishing a relationship, so Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other apps became everyone’s favourite tools.
  • You could stay in your pyjamas from the waist down, which is comfier and less hassle than ironing your favourite suit trousers!

Virtual meetings have now earned their place as an immovable and vital part of our business world. Conferencing app, Zoom, reported that the peak daily meeting participants rose to 300 million-plus users which is up an overwhelming 2900% from December 2019. So take the time to reassess your meeting needs, can your meeting be conducted via virtual conference?

If your meeting is essential, do you need transport?

In some cases, virtual meetings just don’t cut it. There is sometimes no replicating the benefits face-to-face conversations can present us with. Real-life conversations present us with the opportunity to read and decipher non-verbal cues – cues that are crucial for closing a deal and signing a business contract.

So where your business journey is essential, you should consider hiring a private car instead of taking public transport. This can make your journey time-efficient and safer for your employee.

To keep ground travel costs down and to encourage healthy living, reassess whether you need ground travel transport. With the help of smart tools, you can pinpoint which trips are less than a mile away. If your meeting is under a mile away, you could consider walking or cycling. There’s an upward trend in cycling across the globe, whether it’s cycling to work, meetings or for leisure purposes. With Forbes reporting that UK premium bike shop Sigma Sports witnessed 677% year-on-year sales increase in April for entry-level bikes, it’s clear to see the pandemic has increased our need to avoid public transport!

This offers your company a fantastic opportunity to get your employees involved in a cycle to work scheme or a pedometer challenge. A friendly competition between staff members – whether it’s how many miles they can walk in a week, or how many steps they’ve taken in the same time frame. It’s a healthy (and cheaper) travel alternative if the meeting is just across town.

It’s been reported by medical officials, that increased ventilation, i.e. outdoors, can mean the virus particles are dispersed and the chances of catching COVID-19 decreases. Although the risk is still present, travelling to your meetings by walking or cycling can help decrease worry and anxiety around attending meetings, so it’s an option to consider for your employees.

Do you want to learn more about keeping ground travel costs down and championing employee safety? We’ve got a webinar coming up on 18th June, sign up today to book your virtual seat! Sign up here.