Business Travel Considerations For Employers and Employees
Employers and employees have a different set of considerations and responsibilities when it comes to business travel. Clearly both want any business trip to be successful but other considerations come into play. Employers focus on prioritising the need to travel for business, the cost and duty of care of its employees when they are travelling on business. In the case of employees their focus is on preparing for travel, their goals and objectives in attending a business or conference meeting and how to stay productive.
Prioritising Business Travel
As an employer you'll get lots of requests to travel on business to meetings and conferences. In order to work out which will give you the best ROI look to the data you hold on past trips which can help with this deliberation.
Duty of Care should also be a consideration when looking at which business trips should be approved. All companies have a Duty of Care for their workforce both inside and outside the workplace when staff are working and travelling on behalf of the business. A company's duty of care includes everything from protecting its staff from severe weather conditions to disease to simply ensuring their safety and knowing when they are travelling and where they will be throughout their business trip.
Cost of Business Travel
Business travel comes with costs, from hotel or conference room fees to car hire, airfares and parking plus food and drink expenses. So that employees know what expenses are covered it's vital for companies to outline this in their travel policy, as well as when a receipt is required e.g. you may require receipts for all expenses or only expenses over a set amount. Acceptable daily allowances should also be set to cover meals, tips, taxis, phone calls, parking etc.
Without a travel policy it's all too easy to lose control of finances and find travel costs escalating.
A travel policy will allow you to make cost savings, better use of your employee's time and manage travel risks. It can also let staff know how expenses should be submitted and how long staff have to submit them after they have returned from their trip.
Business Travel Agent
Many companies organise their own travel arrangements but it's worth considering working with a business travel agent who can manage your travel for you.
So when should you consider engaging a hotel booking agent? No matter the size of your business if you plan business trips on a regular basis, or organise conferences or out of office meetings and you find that time to research and plan your business travel and accommodation and meeting rooms needs is eating into the time you spend actually working on your business then it's time to think about working with a hotel booking agent.
A hotel booking agent will offer many benefits including freeing up staff to work on business projects, reducing your expenses by knowing the right hotels and venues to work with and by negotiating prices. They will also be able to help you keep to your budget, be mindful of all the details (of past and current trips) and be on hand when things go wrong. Your hotel booking agent can also work with you to define your travel policy which can play a key role in your duty of care.
You'll want to get the most out of your trip and ensure you meet any business expectations. It's therefore a good idea to set goals and objectives with your boss for your meeting or conference and to write them down so you can work towards them. This will probably also come in handy when you need to write your business report. You can use any goals or objectives as headings to report what was achieved.
In our previous article we talked about how travel can cause stress and some of the strategies you can employ to minimise stress while travelling on business. One of the ways many business travellers find helpful is careful planning and preparation before a trip.
One of the biggest concerns many travellers have is, "have I remembered everything"? If you pack at the last minute when you're in a rush and under pressure you're more likely to forget an important item e.g. an important file, phone charger or clothes or shoes you wanted to wear. By having a checklist you can make sure you pack everything you need.
Today there are apps for just about everything so it should be no surprise to realise that there are any number of apps which help when you are travelling on business. We've written about useful apps and resources for business travel that cover WiFi, finding services, translation and transportation and apps to make travelling safer. Many of these apps are worth checking out before your trip.
In recent months we've discovered a couple of other apps that could prove useful to business travellers e.g. CamCard (trial then paid) which enables you to capture and save all your business cards/contact information to your smartphone and WeatherPro (paid) gives seven-day forecasts and reports for over two million locations.
With preplanning and preparation you can make the most of your time when you're travelling. Here are few tips to stay productive while you travel.
It's also important to know when to work and when to rest.
You might feel that you always have to be on task but spending every moment of your trip working will result in you being over tired and stressed and you won't get the most out of your trip. Take a few moments to yourself to let your mind wander and relax and you'll find you're more refreshed and better able to concentrate and work when you need to so that you'll get the most out of your trip.