Anvil’s Group Managing Director, Matthew Judge, recently joined a panel of experts to take part in a virtual Business Travel Wellbeing Community event.
- Is the business travel industry making progress with traveller wellbeing?
- Are companies, travel managers and suppliers finding ways to provide wellbeing solutions to travellers?
- How is the wellbeing priority changing due to COVID-19?
These were just some of the questions put to Matthew Judge and his fellow panellists during the inaugural Global Business Travel Wellbeing Event held recently as part of BTW Day 2020.
Hosted online and drawing an international audience the event was an opportunity for travel managers, suppliers, industry peers and wellbeing experts to come together and discuss some of the burning issues in traveller wellbeing today. The event was organised by the Business Travel Wellbeing Community, a membership body that provides the business travel industry with awareness, education and guidance in achieving traveller wellbeing.
Whilst business travel is temporarily halted for most due to COVID-19, this offers an opportunity for organisations and those within the business travel industry to reflect and consider how wellbeing can, and should, be brought to the forefront of business travel.
During the virtual event, Matthew and his fellow panellists explored how best to balance the need for organisations to return their people to work and travel, whilst providing the appropriate levels of protection and fulfilling their duty of care requirements.
Matthew highlighted the need for organisations to pay far greater attention to the psychological needs of those under their care remit. He stated: “It’s important for employers to look at their duty of care provision and ensure that it covers the psychological aspects not just the physical. This pandemic will have affected people in many ways. Some will be suffering grief, having potentially lost people close to them. Many others will have increased levels of anxiety and be nervous about returning to work or about travelling.”
He continued by saying: “Every organisation needs to have a framework in place to support the wellbeing needs of their employees, whether office based or travelling. Now, more than ever, organisations need to support their employees through the provision of occupational health services and employee wellbeing programmes. Never has there been a better opportunity to break down silos and bring departments together around a common cause, for the greater good of the organisation and the employees.”
When asked about the future of business travel, the panel agreed that it was impossible to predict what this would look like with any real clarity. They agreed that there were likely to be changes to many travel polices as organisations looked far more closely at whether certain trips were essential, especially with the technical enhancements in, and the growing popularity of, virtual meeting technology.
However, as many will have experienced personally during the pandemic, although technology can play a huge part in bringing people together, the human psyche still needs physical connection and togetherness, in both the personal and business world. It was widely agreed that there will always be a need for face to face meetings and business travel, albeit it in a potentially altered form.
Throughout the highly interactive session there were discussions around a broad range of topics including how much organisations really care about the wellbeing of their people and whether it was possible to measure the ROI of wellbeing programmes. During the event, the organisers also polled the audience on their views. When asked if they felt that companies will officially include wellbeing as part of their Duty of Care provision for travelling employees moving forward, 45% of the audience believed that physical safety will still have more focus than psychological wellbeing and 11% thought that companies will merely ‘pretend to care’ about their travellers’ wellbeing.
Despite a far greater awareness of the need for organisations to address both the physical and mental wellbeing needs of their travelling employees, there is obviously still much work to be done.
A recording of the recent webinar can be viewed here: https://businesstravelwellbeing.community/btw-day