Managing Employees Health and Safety When Travelling Abroad

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on every aspect of human living, with travel now banned in nearly all countries of the world. In some parts, people are not even allowed to go out unless it’s to fetch necessary utilities like food and medication.

Traveling for business is now considered non-essential and telecommuting is quickly becoming the new normal for those looking to collaborate for work. Even then, the demand for business travel is sure to come back once the world overcomes the novel Coronavirus. Sure, it might take years for normalcy to return, but some people whose work can’t be done over a Zoom call will still need to travel.

So how do you make sure these employees are healthy and safe while traveling? Below, we explore the options available to you during these unprecedented times.

Keep up with the updates

The world is grappling with a new phenomenon that has even the most knowledgeable health experts guessing what will happen next. To avoid using misleading information that could mess up your staff’s travel plans, monitor public information from reputable sources like WHO and CDC. These organizations are continually providing timely updates on the spread of Coronavirus and recommendations for various travel destinations. Use this information to choose the safest routes for your employees when traveling abroad.

But Coronavirus isn’t the only threat you should check out for. Confirm from the appropriate bodies whether there are current travel or weather advisories against the destination your employees are traveling to.

Air travel and accommodation facilities

The few airlines still operating or those resuming operations are doing an excellent job of disinfecting processes between flights. This means it’s highly unlikely your employees will catch any virus from the air inside the cabins. What’s more, most planes come equipped with high-quality filters that help to recycle air and refresh it every few minutes.

Another area to be cautious about is where your employees stay upon reaching their destination. If you choose to book them a hotel, you might want to emphasize the importance of taking the following precautions:

  • Washing hands thoroughly once they’ve checked in.
  • Wiping frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes. Extra attention should be on door handles, lighting switches, phones, remote controls, and alarm clock.
  • Where possible, use your own beddings in place of those provided by the hotel. Alternatively, you can request the room service attendants to give you comforters and pillows that haven’t been used yet.

If any of these measures don’t seem enough, we recommend renting a furnished apartment where your staff members are sure to enjoy higher levels of social distancing and hygiene. This is particularly vital if you’re traveling to highly affected cities like New York and planning to stay there for a month or more.

But even then, it’s important to take the necessary precautions as advised by WHO on reducing infections. Avoid touching surfaces and then touching your face. You must also keep a safe distance from anyone showing documented signs of the Coronavirus infection.

Educate your employees

Don’t assume that they know what to do to minimize the chances of getting infected when traveling abroad for work. We already mentioned some of the measures they need to take. The following are additional tips to share with them:

  • Avoid handshakes – we know, this is a hard one especially when you’re on a business trip, but it’s incredibly vital.
  • Stock up on medications for common ailments like flu. It might be a bit difficult for them to track down pharmacies at the destination should they fall ill.
  • Encourage them to carry enough masks.
  • They should also get a flu shot if they haven’t yet. It sure won’t protect them from COVID-19 but it should help to boost their immunity against common diseases like pneumonia.
  • Encourage them to also go cashless by paying using credit cards.

While you cannot plan for absolutely everything, it’s essential to always have plans for common risks. While at it, inform your employees about all the key protocols to follow. This includes what to do and who to contact when faced with an emergency such as a COVID-19 positive result. Proper preparation may be the difference between a slight hiccup during a business trip and a disaster.


It’s practically impossible to plan for every hiccup that your employees are going to experience while traveling abroad. However, one thing is certain – if you fail to prepare, you’ll be preparing to fail.

What measures have you put in place to keep your employees healthy and safe whenever they’re traveling abroad during this coronavirus pandemic? We’d love to hear in the comments.