Business as ususal? Traveling for business during COVID
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, and companies start to open back up, meetings that were canceled in March might be rescheduled again! 62 percent of companies have stated that they have modified their traveling during COVID19, but as the United States starts to slowly open up each day, companies and their employees might have to start traveling for business again.
While the common travel concerns of forgetting your ID or shampoo are still there, now those who are traveling, are worried about their face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and all of their luggage! While virtual work meetings and working from home has been a blessing for thousands of people and companies in a wide range of industries, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is something that cannot be skipped.
As a leader, it is important to understand and listen to employees' concerns when it comes to traveling again.
This can create a number of uncertain feelings for employees and companies alike, how can a company make sure that their employees are safe?
Understanding travel bans
A number of countries have slowly opened up their borders to non-citizens, but at the same time, there are plenty that are still restricted traveling in and out of the country. At the same time, in the United States, it is important to understand that not all companies are even open!
Before booking that trip that was canceled, first, verify that travel is permitted. Understand that the other company might say it is okay, but double check on the government’s website for travel during COVID19.
Have a risk management plan in place
A risk management plan is something that all companies have in place, but during a global pandemic, this might be missing from the management plans. It is important to have a risk management plan in place if there is not already one, especially when traveling during the global pandemic.
First, identify the risk of the trip. Are there too many scenarios where employees can get sick? What about if something happens? With many companies in many countries still not operating in their physical location, would you be able to call for an emergency? What if something changes overnight (because in COVID-19 times, it can easily change overnight), what are the next steps? Back up travel? Are you able to cancel again?
All of these questions and so many others that might come to fruition during a risk management plan meeting should be properly analyzed and assets to make sure that the positives outweigh the risks of the business trip.
Take CDC and WHO guidelines into consideration
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) still suggests that people do not travel across state borders or internationally. Traveling only increases the risk of contracting or spreading COVID in a new city. The CDC also recommends that anyone who is traveling follows the following guidelines:
- Wash hands
- Do not touch your face
- Wear a mask
- Bring hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60 percent alcohol
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Practice social distancing
Another way to take these considerations and make them actionable is to make sure to sit far enough away from the other passengers on the plane and make sure to read about the safety precautions set in place by airplanes.
While business is not as usual, virtual meetings can help to make it as normal as possible. For those who have to travel during COVID19, follow any precautions set in place as best as possible!
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