Supporting employees who travel frequently
For many positions with a company, it’s expected that you travel at some point — especially if your company has multiple locations across the country (or the world). While many employees might embrace it, there is a lot of stress associated with business travel. To support your employees on the road, it’s important to be cognizant of their daily struggles and lifestyle and how travel can disrupt it. Also it is important that you develop a fair travel policy that is clearly communicated with employees before they begin their travel.
Keep reading to learn on what you can include in your travel policy and how you can best support these employees.
Staying in touch with your traveling employees is important whether they’re gone for days or weeks at a time. Try to touch base with them regularly to help with any road blocks and make sure they’re on track and that they feel supported while away from their office. It’s important to keep in mind that in order to do this, a reliable connection is most always necessary. Be sure to purchase a hotel room that has WiFi included or allow them to purchase it. Additionally, if they have a particularly long layover, it’s important that you allow them to purchase airport WiFi, so that they can efficiently stay in touch and work on the go. Or if they are going to be travelling often, reimburse them for cell phone expenses or provide a work-issued phone.
Reimburse travel expenses quickly
If your employees don’t have a company card and are using their own personal funds and credit card for employee travel expenses, it’s important that your expense reimbursement happens as quickly as possible. Not only will this increase their satisfaction, but it will also help them to submit their travel expenses as quickly as possible, which is important for your own bookkeeping.
Make sure they understand the process for filing an expense report. Give them tools to help them keep track of receipts. No employee likes doing expense reports, so make this process as easy as possible for them.
Help employees feel at home
It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep on the road – especially in a bed that’s not your own. Try to make your traveling employees’ stay as comfortable as possible. Consider providing them with a room upgrade or giving them a say in where they would like to stay (Airbnb or hotel, etc.). If they’re traveling by car, you might also give them a say in which rental car to drive. Simple gestures like this can make a huge difference in the quality of an employee’s travel day.
Again, we can’t stress enough how important it is that they understand what is allowed for incidental expenses and meal allowances. They shouldn’t have to wonder if something is reimbursable before purchasing. Travel costs can be confusing, so try to take the mental stress away by letting them know what is expected. Maybe even give them a per-diem or cash advance to cover the unexpected or irregular things while on the road.
Also you can provide them with some other things that can help make their travel. See some of our suggestions for branded swag that you can provide for travel.
Help them to focus on business, not travel
Traveling can often be highly stressful and take up a large portion of the day, especially if multiple flights are involved. Help to make your employee’s journey easy by making the transition between travel and work seamless. Consider paying for TSA Pre-check, so they aren’t stressed about waiting in security for an extended period of time. Provide them with an itinerary for each flight or other mode of transportation so that everything is perfectly planned in advance. After all, your employees should be focused on their work — so try to make their travel experience as enjoyable as possible.
Offer on the road support
Make sure to have a safety net ready in case anything goes wrong. Consider investing in traveler’s insurance so they’re covered if their flight gets canceled or they lose their luggage. Moreover, make sure that you or someone else is always available to help in case of an emergency.
Have empathy for the stress of travel
If your employee is constantly on the road or even just takes a rare business trip, keep in mind how exhausting travel can be. For example, if they return from a trip until Sunday night at 11:00 pm, don’t expect them to be in the office at 7:30 am the next morning. Likewise, if they are required to spend an entire weekend on the road, give them a day or two off once they return home.
One of the best ways to support these employees is to recognize that they have a life outside work and need just as much downtime as the rest of your team. Keeping this in mind and following the steps above will guarantee that your traveling employees feel supported.
In the end, these tips will help you create a concise, clear travel policy that you can easily communicate to your employees either directly or through your human resources department. On top of this clear policy, it is important that your team know that you recognize the challenge’s employee travel and appreciate their efforts.