How to make business travel more efficient for your employees
'Duty of Care' has never been a hotter topic than it is right now... So how do you as employers ensure that you are caring for all your employees when they are out meeting clients, winning new business, attending conferences and networking up and down the country, across Europe and all over the world? Business travel is an essential part of most companies’ success, so it’s important that it doesn’t come at the expense of your employees’ wellbeing. We have compiled some useful points for companies to help them make business travel better for their employees:
- Have a specific but flexible travel policy - It makes more sense to create guidelines that are flexible yet clear, then everyone knows where they stand and can work together for better business productivity. For example, the first-class rail travel threshold is typically first-class travel for continuous journeys of over four hours. Specific, but flexible policy will allow employees the freedom to make their own travel arrangements and they will respect your guidelines, meaning that they could still opt for standard travel over four hours should they choose to do so. However, the policy is clear that nobody should travel first class for any journeys less than four hours in length. Once your travel policy is in place or been updated it’s essential to clearly communicate it to your business travellers to ensure compliance.
- Identify and manage the signs of employee burnout - Frequent business travel can lead to burnout. Life on the road compounds the usual stresses of a job. Delays and being away from home can take a toll on health, happiness, and productivity. Monitor how often employees are travelling and encourage them to take breaks whenever possible. For example, some conversations don’t have to happen in person, instead phone calls or video conferencing can be a better alternative, especially if you are identifying the signs of burnout in an employee.
- Let your employees do the Bleisure thing - A mix of business and leisure travel (bleisure travel) is when employees extend a work trip into a holiday. If an employee travelled by train to Edinburgh on a Tuesday and was set to return on the Friday they could opt to stay until Sunday to explore the city and use it as personal leisure time. Instead of it feeling like a long business trip away from home and a burden on their homelife, a bleisure trip becomes something to look forward to. Bleisure travel can cost the company less, because employees break from the usual business travel schedule and can avoid peak travel prices.
- Reward employee saving – If you enforce 100 per cent compliance of your travel policy, employees will generally spend near to the upper limit of their allowance. The potential savings are much greater when you give travellers an incentive to make cost-effective decisions. If employees earn a portion of savings when they beat their budgets by travelling in standard class not first class, staying in a budget hotel instead of a 4- or 5-star hotel and not choosing the most expensive restaurants to dine out in, it then becomes pretty appealing for both the company and the employee. Taking into consideration that it is the employee who is making the decisions and therefore the company is not enforcing these budgeted options upon the employee.
- Get your company set up for maximum delay repay compensation and compensate your employees for disrupted travel - By having an automated system in place that will manage the end-to-end claims process on behalf of individual travellers, not only will this allow employees to focus on their business objectives. This solution, already endorsed by many of the TOCs, support TMCs, Corporates and business travellers, providing the functionality to monitor every single journey of corporate business travellers, at zero cost.
We announced last month that we're seeing more businesses compensate their employees when they have been disrupted by travel outside of working hours. At Business Travel Compensation, we’ve been looking at the flexibility and configurability of our own systems to be able to report back on exact times. Depending on the requirements from businesses, we can now tailor our reports to highlight those travellers affected outside of business hours. It's then down to the individual travel policies on how they compensate their employees.
At Business Travel Compensation, with our work through TMCs, we're able to offer their corporate clients 100% of the compensation they’re entitled to. If you want to know more about the systems, and how they integrate with your own internal technology, get in touch today.