While many of us are in isolation to combat the COVID-19 spread, we are perhaps reminiscing about life before this deadly virus took away much of our freedom and even looking ahead to the time that some ‘normality’ returns to daily life. How that world will look is not clear, but one thing for certain is that the wellbeing of corporate travellers will be among the topics that top the agenda.
Life as a mobile worker can bring unforeseen stress and strain. When on a business trip or deployed in a foreign country, people may be exposed to unexpected situations, minor or severe. Distance from loved ones, new environments or a serious accident can all trigger stress and anxiety. The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted this clearly, particularly the dangers to travellers.
At a time when the International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers work-related stress as a “21st-century disease”, emotional support is often considered to be the missing link in a comprehensive Travel Risk Mitigation programme.
Companies are currently coming to terms with a changed and complex workplace. Those that are still open for business have workers spread around cities, countries, even the world and are incorporating new strategies to maintain operations while keeping employees and the wider population safe. They will be learning the importance of staff welfare, so now, with the industry at an effective standstill, it is a good time to explore how organisations can ensure the mental wellbeing of its travellers.
It may be less than six months ago when this topic was discussed at the CTC-CAPA Corporate Travel Gathering in Sydney, Australia in late Nov-2019, but it seems like it was another time.
During the panel discussion, moderator International SOS risk director, Peter Curtis, and panellists, American Express Global Business Travel vice president traveller care APAC, Daniel Carceles; AMP commercial manager, Tanaz Pochkanawalla; CWT APAC senior director, Marty Lonergan; Egencia, director of account management, ANZ, Ellie Warren; and International SOS, group vice president, global travel industry, Wendy Stachowiak; highlighted the warning signs that organisations should look for and identified case studies of best practise exist around the world.