Half of business travellers in the UK want to see their firms investing in health and safety training to deal with anxieties over Covid-19.
They are most worried about infecting their families (65%), getting sick themselves (56%) and not knowing if other travellers are infected (45%), new research reveals.
The most common emotions they feel about their next business trip include anxiety (43%) and worry (37%).
However, many feel positively about their next business trip, with 31% feeling encouraged and 18% feeling relieved.
The survey of 500 UK business travellers and 100 travel managers was conducted by travel and expense management company SAP Concur.
The majority (91%) of corporate travellers expect their company to experience negative outcomes due to restricted travel, including a reduced number of deals or contracts signed that require person-to-person interactions (47%) and declines in new business wins that require sales meetings in person (39%).
Health and safety is now seen as more than twice as important than their business goals being met on trips (34% versus 16%).
The research shows that travel managers in the UK understand the increased need for health and safety measures, with 50% planning to implement mandatory health screenings for travellers, 44% planning to host mandatory travel safety training sessions, and 44% implementing enhanced duty of care solutions and services.
But most employees are not afraid to act if companies fail to adapt.
Three quarters of business travellers intend to take some degree of action if their employer does not implement new measures as they return to travel.
This includes asking to limit or reduce travel in their current position (50%) or looking for a new role inside or outside the company that does not require travel if measures are not implemented (24%).
Technology will play a key role in helping business travellers feel safe as trips restart.
Mobile check-in (48%), mobile safety information (46%) and the ability to view and manage a trip itinerary on mobile (34%) are seen as the most important features.
SAP Concur channel development director Darryl McGarvey said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on business travel and traveller confidence.
“This research shows that as business travel recovers, traveller confidence will be more important than ever and duty of care considerations will become a greater focus within travel policies.
“It is clear that UK business travellers are concerned about their next business trip and this is understandable.
“Emerging expectations around personal and community health and safety will mean a new era of decisions, processes, and innovations across the travel industry.”
He added: “These survey findings underscore that the industry must come together to collectively adapt, stabilise, and re-imagine the world of travel.
“Businesses need to be proactive about supporting and safeguarding employees as they prepare to travel again for work, whether putting pre-trip approvals and guidance in place or ensuring visibility into itineraries and spend information, wherever employees book travel.”
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