This period of flight restrictions and coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a rare period of time where almost no business travel is taking place. Whilst some businesses are busier than ever in these strange times, others are much quieter. Although this can be a worrying time for businesses, it’s also a time for review and reflection. It may seem a strange idea, but this could just be the perfect time to write a travel policy or to review your corporate travel policy if you already have one.
At Travelworx one of the first things we do when we start working with a new client is to ask to see a copy of their corporate travel policy. It is surprising just how many companies don’t have a written policy. If a company doesn’t have one then we encourage them to spend some time putting one together and these are some of the tips which we give them on how to write a travel policy.
Aim to strike the right balance between the needs of the employees and those of the company
As with any corporate policy, the aim is both to protect employees and safeguard the business. A good corporate travel policy will make sure that employees are safe when travelling for work, and that they know what to do in case of emergency. It will also make their lives easier by providing guidelines which will help them to plan and make sure that they are fully aware of the choices available for them. At the same time it will protect the company by making sure that all business trips fit within company guidelines and company budgets.
Think about your company ethos – what kind of business are you?
Company travel policies vary enormously, some give a lot of leeway to employees, others are very rigid, specifying which business hotels and airlines employees may use whilst travelling for work. How you write your travel policy will depend to a large extent on the general ethos of the company. Do you usually allow your employees to make their own decisions, or do you set out everything for them? Your corporate travel policy should reflect your general ethos so that it falls within the expectations of your employees.
Think about a typical business trip when starting to plan
When you are setting out your travel policy, the simplest way to start is by thinking about what a typical business trip looks like for your employees. Do they travel to lots of different destinations worldwide or do they usually visit the same two or three destinations, perhaps locations where you have branches or offices? Are the trips just to one destination or do they involve a longer itinerary with multiple stop-off points? How long are employees usually away for? Do they all travel from the same point in the UK? All of these questions will help you when you are considering how to write a travel policy.
The more detail you include the easier business travel will be
It is important to consider every aspect of the business trip, from the moment your employee leaves home to the moment they return back at the end of their trip. Will the company pay for their transport to and from the airport at either end? If so, are employees permitted to take a taxi, or do they need to travel by public transport? Are there specific circumstances under which they are allowed to travel by taxi – for example, late at night or depending on the distance they live from the airport?
Writing a good travel plan protects your employees
It is important that your employees don’t end up out of pocket when they travel. A good travel plan will let them know what is and isn’t paid for by the company and how to claim back expenses if they do have to pay for any expenses themselves. It is also extremely important that employees know what to do if something goes wrong when travelling for work. If a flight is delayed or cancelled, who should they contact? If they get ill whilst travelling, what should they do? A business travel management company such as Travelworx makes things a little easier in this respect as they have staff on call 24/7 in case of such emergencies. Remember that your company has a duty of care to your employees so it is very important that they feel cared for and secure in all circumstances, no matter where they are in the world.
Writing a good travel plan saves your company money
All companies need to keep control of business travel expenses. A corporate travel policy will set out the parameters to ensure that you can do this. Some companies limit expense by specifying where employees can stay, or use only one chain of hotels, others specify a maximum cost or maximum star rating. It generally works better to give your employees some element of choice, so that they feel in control and can take account to some extent of their personal preferences.
Think about your attitude to bleisure travel
One of the latest travel trends is that of bleisure travel. It is crucial that this is addressed by your travel policy – what is the situation when employees wish to combine a business trip with some leisure time? Who will pay for what and how will they do it? Will your business travel management company make the arrangements or will employees have to do this themselves?
There are certainly a lot of issues to consider when you think about how to write a travel policy, but the more time you spend planning the better it will be.