COVID-19 has presented businesses with unprecedented hurdles around worker safety. We have seen nimble and admirable uptake of PPE, social distancing and business model innovations as corporations and small business face up to this ever-changing challenge. Yet some worker safety issues need a more nuanced approach. One key area of complexity involves workers who travel.
We examine three key areas where corporates should focus attention for a healthy travelling workforce: colleagues who travel, site-to-site exposure and the need for bespoke corporate safety strategies.
- Travelling colleagues
Many C-suite and other executives are continuing the hard yards of visiting regional offices, monitoring diverse business sites during the pandemic and generally assisting customers as ongoing BAU. Traditionally, travel time is an excellent opportunity to focus and brainstorm with colleagues on business issues. Yet how do we keep travelling colleagues safe and well during COVID-19? Take an eastern seaboard health business that regularly sends co-workers from one capital city to another to oversee site performance. Standard procedure for travelling colleagues would include shared airport taxis, co-location on flights, discussion and case analysis over breakfast – the list goes on. There are evidently questions to be asked around PPE, communication modification and the practicalities of colleague interaction. And each case will no doubt be different.
- Site-to-site exposure
Restrictions continue to vary drastically across Australia and between states. Protective strategies need to be adapted to account for local COVID-19 cases, their spread, plus any necessary corporate travel between sites. Variations in travel needs can occur on a day-to-day basis. As travelling executives move forward to energise sites, drum up business and strategise for the corporation’s future, leaders must ensure that safety prevails across all worker interactions, sites and modes of transport. This will generally include not only air travel, but also work vehicle use and shared private car trips.
- The need for unique solutions
Corporate Australia needs to travel – from regions to state capitals, between vast coasts to the outback, and all places in between. Our expansive land makes this mobility inevitable. Increasingly, corporate Australia needs to consider strategically the travel modes and limits of the executive workforce in a ‘COVID-normal’ world. Each safety strategy will be unique, reflecting the particular industry, client interface, governance structure, site location and economic imperatives embedded within our hardworking Australian businesses. Questions that need answers include: What are the existing health and safety concerns for travel in this industry? How is this magnified by the pandemic? Are protective mechanisms uniform between states? What might a best-fit COVID travel strategy look like?
Borders will continue to open, and executives will travel the length and breadth of Australia. Yet as uncertainty continues to prevail, the health issues for Australian corporate travel remain unchartered territory.
At WRM, we excel in finding nimble and effective workplace solutions designed to keep your workers healthy. Call us for a chat about travel wellness solutions for your business.