The pandemic that has shaken the world to its core has affected all operating industries. From canceled flights to delayed business plans, it’s no secret that COVID-19 has severe effects that changed both our present and future. Thankfully, through effective social distancing protocols, the restrictions for travel have started to ease up. Essential and nonessential business trips are now allowed as long as there are proper travel permits at hand. However, the alleviation of travel bans doesn’t translate to safer and hassle-free traveling.
Traveling during a global pandemic is scary but is critical to keep businesses running. If you want to prepare for everything during your trip, read on. This blog post will help educate you and your team on what one must do when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key Steps in Maintaining a Safe and Successful Business Trip
Assess the Destination and Devise A Crisis Management Plan Before Traveling
First and foremost, you should determine if business travel is essential. If it is, prepare to make some changes in your travel routine. In this pandemic, we should be responsible enough to research COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in our destination.
Jot down where to find the nearest hospitals, the country or state’s travel restrictions, available hotels and requirements for checking in, and the safest route you can take to your final destination. It’s always better to be prepared for these minute details to avoid problems.
Additionally, devise a crisis management plan to know what to do whenever an outbreak or mitigating problem occurs. The most effective crisis management plans should:
- List out all the possible risks of the trip.
- Know the business travel’s impact on the company if you are forced to cancel or postpone.
- Have a contingency plan when a jeopardizing incident happens.
- Be known and studied by all the employees partaking in the trip.
- Be revised consistently until all possible routes of risk are covered and solved.
A crisis management plan will be useful for all industries. Let’s say you’re an engineer in the renewable sector that requires transporting blades for windmills. However, the state barred your cargo from entering due to an unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. With a crisis management plan, you’ll know what precautions you should have taken and how to fix problems that may arise during your trip.
Whether the business travel includes all of your staff or only one, every staff member should be knowledgeable in dealing with the consequences of traveling during a pandemic. You (or the company) should create a crisis management team (CMT) and delegate corresponding responsibilities. The roles of the team should be assigned accordingly and clarified to avoid misunderstandings in case of emergencies.
After creating a CMT, coordinate with your destination’s local government unit and ask for travel approval. We also recommended you collaborate with the company you’re doing business with and establish a crisis management plan in case of COVID-19 outbreaks within their or your company. Additionally, you should ensure that one of your personnel should have access to medical supplies.
Conclude the crisis management plan and CMT meeting by auditing the procedure and fixing all the issues.
Communicate with Staff Members All Throughout the Trip
During this crisis, you should keep all your lines open in case of emergencies during travel. If you’re included in the trip, continuously update your coworkers where you are headed and at what point of the travel plan you are now. Consider creating a group chat to disseminate updates to all included employees in the group.
In case of an emergency, you should have an assigned contact point in your group to know all hospital emergency hotlines. Furthermore, there should be an alternative medium of communication in case of server issues or signal loss.
Once you have arrived at your destination, do a headcount and communicate with your coworkers. Ensure that you have constant contact with coworkers who are apart from you.
Clarify and Abide with All Travel Policies of Your Destination
The travel policies differ per country or state. During the trip, clarify any confusing policies you may have trouble understanding with the local government unit. Remember to always abide by their laws and avoid straying away from the travel management plan.
After the Travel
Once you get back from the travel, remember to isolate all included personnel whether they are showing symptoms or not. It’s vital for the staff members not to alienate coworkers who traveled alongside you. During this, review the effectiveness of the crisis management plan and look for improvements you can make. Additionally, supervisors should check what the travelers did and whether they followed the protocol.
Celebrate a Job Well Done
Finally, if no symptoms arise, congratulate each other for completing your travel without a hitch. Traveling during this pandemic can be scary and daunting. But, with the proper knowledge, training, and preparation at your disposal, the travel should be accomplished without any problems that will hinder your business travels.