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COVID-19 / Coronavirus Impact on Corporate Travel - Update

March 11, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has impacted organizations around the globe, highlighting the critical need for actionable risk intelligence to help business continuity planning. Beyond the human toll, this epidemic is a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures they have in place to protect employees, customers, and operations, in this and future epidemics.  

Global Changes Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Governmental authorities, corporations, and other organizations are tackling the disruption in a variety of ways. We have already seen the widespread cancellation of conferences and other smaller-scale meetings, especially those with international attendees, with more expected in the coming weeks. Most companies have started to restrict all non-essential travel, especially to and from Asia, as it is prudent to limit employee business travel from areas where COVID-19 is most prevalent — both to prevent illness and to prevent loss of productivity due to quarantine or employee exclusion from the workplace after travel. 

Ensuring Safety for Traveling Employees

What can companies do to ensure the safety of their employees, especially employees that are scheduled or have been traveling? How can companies be certain they have all of the data on exactly where their employees are traveling and when? Staying up to date with the latest news from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) will help ensure that travelers from your company are not heading into high-risk areas, but it's still your responsibility to know where they are and where they have been, at any given time. As the locations of the virus grow, this becomes even more important. 

Awareness & Visibility Ensure Traveler Safety

In situations like this, it's critical that the corporate travel and risk management departments are tightly aligned on the risk management plan and communicate regularly with their duty of care provider to ensure traveler safety. Duty of care providers can send intelligence alerts that provide timely notifications of any significant travel, safety, and/or security-related incidents that could impact your organization and people. Notification of such issues or incidents, with analysis, gives you the advantage to prepare for and mitigate the threat to your organization and operations. But that is only part of the picture as this will only provide visibility to the travelers that have booked through your designated, approved booking channels, not all of your travelers. 

Safety Resources for Small Businesses

For smaller companies who do not partner with a risk management provider, you should closely monitor impacted regions via government and local authorities. Refer to airline websites for updates on flight cancellations and updates to change and cancel policies for previously booked airfares. Additionally, many risk management providers are offering status updates on their own websites and via email free of charge. Make sure you are communicating with your employees regularly to advise them of your travel policy and precautions they should take. Check the following resources for more information:

Knowing exactly where all of your employees are is a vital part of duty of care/risk management. The only way to ensure that all of your travelers are adequately covered in a life or death situation is to implement a comprehensive travel program that provides real-time tracking and travel data, for all of your travelers, not just the travelers that book through the designated, approved channels.

To learn more about how Traxo can help companies address gaps in duty of care coverage, schedule a demo here.

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