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Travel Risk Management Vs Duty of Care – What’s the Difference?

There are many buzzwords in business we often find ourselves nodding along to sometimes knowingly… other times not! From duty of care to wellbeing and ‘big data’, there’s many terms and phrases that have infiltrated our working world in recent years. 

But more than just there for business bingo, they form an important part of remote working and office culture, and it pays to know some of the key terms.

The bad news is that they’re here to stay. The good news is that they’re equally as easy to understand once you get your head around them!

In this article, we specifically review what travel risk management and duty of care stand for, and look at why it’s important to know the difference.

For anyone who travels for business, no matter how infrequently, this is one to read and share. 

Travel Risk Management Versus Duty of Care

As anyone in HR or corporate travel will know all too well, there’s a responsibility that comes with sending colleagues away on work trips.

These can vary greatly; from being stranded abroad from the impact of airport strikes, to falling unwell on business, to losing a bank card. Sometimes even the most surprising situations such as Volcanic ash can throw a spanner in the works.

Whatever the scenario, a company should be prepared and equipped to deal with obstacles, and that also means arming their colleagues with the right information too.

And therein lies the difference between the two.

Unlike travel risk management, which is about having a backup plan of action, duty of care can be considered as a legal and moral obligation to uphold the wellbeing and safety of colleagues at any given time.

Think of it like this; if fire breaks out in the office and an alarm goes off to inform people – that’s duty of care. But the actual emergency evacuation plan to deliver colleagues to a safe location, well that’s the risk management in action.

Knowing the difference makes it clear just how important it is to consider both.

Ensuring Duty of Care

Any business, no matter its size or industry, has a legal obligation to care for the people who work for it. With business travel and remote working on the rise, this is an area that needs to be addressed with priority. A robust duty of care should form the backbone of corporate guidelines, putting employee welfare at the fore.

Duty of care is an all-encompassing area that considers the welfare of colleagues in both the physical and emotional sense. For instance, wellbeing in the workplace is a matter gaining greater traction than ever before, with mental health issues high on the agenda. This can be supported by keeping to recommended working hours and creating an open culture that promotes good communication too.

In the physical sense, duty of care can extend to healthcare insurance or due diligence to ensure colleagues travel safely during business travel. Business guidelines can help set out expected behaviours and code of conduct, from claiming expenses to raising grievances.

Travel Risk Management

Dovetailing into duty of care, travel risk management is about preparation for potential eventualities that may crop up.

Specifically, to business travel this might include, what to do if you lose your business card on travel. How to make a last-minute hotel booking if your plans change, or even complications arising out of Brexit – such as being passport-ready and having adequate travel insurance in place.

At one time or another, it’s likely that an issue like this may occur, and being equipped will help manage the issue with greater efficiency.

In being prepared for these issues, it may also help minimise the reputational damage and financial impact on the business. 

However, in some cases, challenges crop up that are beyond our control. While we cannot plan for every situation, having general guidelines in place will help cover most eventualities. This should include in a company manual, key contacts for out of hours emergencies.

Summary in Review

Anyone responsible for team members has an obligation to understand the fundamentals in business. A professional approach to duty of care and travel risk management is paramount for the safety and wellbeing of all colleagues.

If this is an area of responsibility integral to your role, then you can undertake training or courses to improve your knowledge.

Finally, if you haven’t already read our ‘Duty of Care’ article, you can check it out here >>>

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