World Travel Protection (WTP), a renowned global travel risk management organization, has commissioned an Opinium survey to identify the top safety concerns of business travelers in the United States and Canada in a post-pandemic world. The survey aimed to understand how these travelers expect their employers to address these concerns and ensure their safety during business travel.
The Opinium has revealed several significant findings on the top safety concerns of business travelers from the United States and Canada in a post-pandemic world. Firstly, only one-third of business travelers feel happy about resuming travel for work, with less than one-third considering it an essential part of their job. Delays and disruptions were the biggest concern for nearly 80% of respondents, followed by losing their phone or laptop, being a target of crime, and catching COVID-19.
Additionally, the survey reveals that a quarter of business travelers prefer to avoid countries where women’s rights aren’t protected, and nearly 70% agree that traveling as a woman is less safe than as a man.
Mental Health – a Growing Concern
The survey reveals mental health is a growing concern for business travelers in the US and Canada.
Approximately 30% of US business travelers and 25% of Canadians report feeling more concerned about their health and well-being while traveling now than before the pandemic. Many travelers report feeling stressed, exhausted, homesick, and anxious while traveling for work. Dr. Joel Lockwood, Chief Medical Officer, Canada, World Travel Protection, notes that homesickness and deteriorating mental health have become more pronounced among travelers since the pandemic. The stress of travel and being away from traditional support networks is challenging for many people, and this is compounded by burnout caused by COVID-19. Lockwood highlights that the severity of episodes and shortness of onset are areas to watch.
Not much info on how to stay safe:
Many feel that their companies provide little practical information on how to stay safe while traveling. While a majority of US and Canadian business travelers report that their employers express concern for their well-being during trips (78% and 70%, respectively), less than 3 in 10 feel they are given practical advice prior to travel. This includes information such as emergency contact numbers (29% US, 24% Can), destination briefings (28% US, 22% Can), and accident protocols (28% US, 21% Can).
“What some employers may not understand is that they have a Duty of Care, or legal obligation, to prevent their employees from reasonably foreseeable risks,” says Grace Patenall, Global Chief Legal Officer, World Travel Protection. “This includes having a travel risk management (TRM) policy in place, with sound, strategic steps that reflect the realities of the changing landscape and safeguard the wellbeing of their employees who travel.
“Organizations that either don’t have a TRM strategy or are not communicating this to their traveling employees in advance of departure are not only putting their travelers at risk, but also the reputation of the organization.”