Commuting is on the rise, with millions of people spending more than two hours travelling to and from work. In fact, almost 20% of all travel is business-related. Yet when travel disruptions occur, employees are often unsure as to where they stand and how their employers can help.
What are the travel disruption risks for employees?
Whether it’s bad weather, transport strikes or major incidents, travel disruptions can delay or prevent employees getting to work. Travel disruptions can also force employers to adapt their working arrangements or close workplaces.
With international travel on the rise, both for conferences and meetings, businesses may face risks on a larger scale. Travel may be cancelled if the government warns against non-essential travel to certain countries. Equally, if there is a natural disaster, terror attack or civil unrest, travel is likely to be disrupted or cancelled.
Currently, this is happening on an unprecedented scale with travel restrictions in place across the world in an attempt to contain the global coronavirus pandemic. With an increasing number of places in lockdown, many conferences have been postponed, with business and personal travel cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Whilst many of these risks are fast-moving and unpredictable, employers can and should prepare staff before business travel and support them during travel disruptions or unforeseen incidents.
Employer safety obligations for travel disruption risks
Employers have the same duty of care to their staff when they are travelling for work, as when they are in the office. But what is the best way for them to support staff that are travelling for business?
The first thing employers should do is prepare ahead of travel. This means assessing the risks at planned destinations and taking appropriate precautions. Understanding the risks, monitoring events in the region and providing pre-travel training can markedly reduce the likelihood of an incident disrupting travel. Preparing a crisis management plan and communicating throughout the business is also a key component of employees understanding how to react in an emergency.
If employees do get caught up in a critical incident, businesses need to respond quickly and effectively. The first thing to establish is the employee’s whereabouts and safety status. Depending on the situation, it may be as simple as calling them to establish if they need help. However, during a civil unrest, natural disaster or terror attack, they may unable to answer their phones. Businesses may also lose valuable time trying to locate large teams that have been affected by a crisis.
Locating your staff during travel disruption or a critical emergency
Critical event management solutions offer a way for employers to locate their workers quickly and ensure that they are safe. Companies can dynamically assess, respond to and resolve any threats to the business.
By using a critical event management solution, such as IncidentEye, companies can locate any employees who are affected by an incident and quickly focus their attention on those that are in danger.
IncidentEye’s Crisis Response App
Easily accessed via an internet browser, IncidentEye’s crisis response hub allows you to set up and manage an incident in real-time. The IncidentEye crisis response app can be pre-loaded onto employees’ phones via MDM or downloaded via the App Store or Google Play, where it lies dormant until an incident occurs. When an incident is not underway, the IncidentEye app is unable to view employee locations
During a crisis, you can plot an affected area in the IncidentEye hub, called a geozone, to determine who is in or nearby the incident. Employees in the area will then get a notification on their phones alerting them of the incident and prompting them to indicate whether they are safe or in need of assistance.
You can also send tailored communications to all employees at risk through IncidentEye, without concerning those that are not affected. Equally, you may wish to send communications to those not affected by the crisis to warn them or ask them to avoid certain areas.
No matter what the destination, there are always going to be risks for travellers. By assessing risks and preparing in advance, businesses can be confident that they are able to uphold their duty of care and protect their staff in an emergency.