Duty of care in post-Covid travel: how can companies adapt?

By Robyn Joliat, Chief Technology Officer at 3Sixty

Over the last few years, Covid-19 has completely disrupted (and near enough halted) the business travel industry. Besides being logistically tricky to manage, the travel industry has had to combat unpredictable regulations, unstable supply chains and a constant state of uncertainty around its future.

At 3Sixty, the leading extended-stay travel accommodation provider, we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Business travel is gradually bouncing back, but not as we knew it before. SAP Concur recently found that 99% of business travellers in the UK are ready to travel in the next 12 months, but they now have more requests around health and safety, flexibility, and location while away for work.

For HR practitioners managing international travel for employees, it’s a challenging period. Keeping employees safe on the road has never been more complex, and the unprecedented events of the last few years have called for more stringent duty of care protocols within the HR industry. 

The growing scope of duty of care

With the return of business travel, companies are identifying new ways to protect their workforce while away on business – and consequently, are reevaluating their duty of care policies. Having been in the serviced apartments sector for over 27 years, I have seen the concept of duty of care continually evolve. But, the pandemic has accelerated the significance of duty of care in our sector like never before, and companies, HR and mobility departments must quickly understand that safety has taken on a brand new meaning in corporate travel.

Following a global pandemic, employees must feel confident their company has transparent policies and end-to-end support in place to combat any uncertainties looming over the travel industry. Employees have new anxieties and fresh expectations of their employers in a post-Covid landscape, and duty of care policies must evolve to provide documented reaction and recovery plans, tools to monitor employees’ safety and communication channels.

Duty of care solutions in travel

At 3Sixty, we’ve seen more travel decision-makers are utilising technology-driven solutions to fulfil their duty of care to employees as we enter the next phase of business travel. How can companies adapt?

Real-time safety data

Hyper-local real-time safety data can be used to measure personal safety levels in different locations, allowing both employers and employees to make smart decisions in real-time. Using a platform like GeoSure, employees can measure their safety in a local area with a mobile phone or smartwatch. This gives them instant access to accurate security and safety data from official sources, together with AI analysis of media headline sentiment.

Choosing employee accommodation providers that partner with safety measurement platforms gives both the employer and employee the tools to select a safe and secure location.

Risk identification

It’s no longer just safety and security that HR and mobility professionals must consider when sending employees abroad. Climate and weather disaster risk is set to form a larger part of duty of care, and travel decision-makers must incorporate risk identification into their programmes to cover this.

An example of this we’re seeing over in the US is the use of Augurisk, a natural hazard risk assessment platform. Using its proprietary scientific and machine learning models, the solution can be used to identify property risk for flood, earthquakes, storms, crime and wildfire across the country, enabling travel decision-makers to make more informed decisions about the locations they send employees.

Booking platforms

Flexibility and choice has been a leading trend in business travel for the best part of 2022, but that certainly doesn’t mean employers should hand over accommodation booking responsibilities entirely. Relying on employees to choose their own accommodation, and similarly trusting property owners to meet duty of care standards, is a risk – particularly when you can’t control property standards, facilities or the support on hand.

Many more travel decision-makers are using trusted business travel accommodation booking platforms like 3Sixty. Employers have access to a network of over one million properties in 60 different countries, yet they can rest assured each property is vetted daily against different criteria – such as business practices, data security and financial health – and all housing options meet our benchmark duty of care standard.

Duty of care: a continuous process

For travel managers and HR professionals, it’s crucial to treat duty of care as an ongoing process – one that continuously evolves, adapts and reacts.

New business traveller expectations drive the evolution of duty of care, and unless companies are quick to update their policies and adopt new technologies to fulfil duty of care obligations, they will fall behind and lose employees’ trust. With the right tools, safety measurements and protocols in place, companies should be well-equipped to protect the safety and welfare of employees – but only if they stay ahead of the curve.


About Robyn Joliat

Robyn Joliat, CCHP, is the Chief Technology Officer for 3Sixty, part of the Reside brand portfolio, and is tasked with creating and evaluating innovative new technologies that drive forward the company. Prior to this role, Robyn has spent over  27 years in operations, revenue generation, supply chain, and product development at leading serviced apartment brands ABODA by Reside and BridgeStreet Global Hospitality.

Author: Editorial Team

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