Concur, an employee-spend management and business travel company, has released the UK results from its Duty of Care survey. The research uncovered that of the 53% of business travellers who have been near a major event while travelling for business; 41% of this figure weren’t contacted by their company.
Firms are legally obligated to look after travellers at all stages of travel and brings into sharp focus the number of UK businesses failing to deliver on duty of care responsibilities. Of those that had been contacted during a major event, the study showed that 37% of those rated the contact received as unnecessary or only mildly helpful.
Respondents also pointed towards a lack of confidence in their company to deliver assistance in the face of a major event. Under half (42%) stated that their company would be able to help in any situation. Unsurprisingly almost all (95%) of those that had been near to a major event would want their company to have a system or programme in place that would alert their company of their location during an emergency.
Chris Baker, MD of UK Enterprise, Concur stated: “It is unfortunate but major events, from environmental through to acts of terrorism, have become a fact of life for all travellers. If you’re travelling for business though, your company has a legal responsibility to provide suitable care. What these results demonstrate is that UK organisations are not taking this seriously and are skirting on the edge of the law. Even where companies do have the right processes in place, employees are still nervous about the assistance they receive. Data, insights and due process are clearly lacking.”
The study indicates that the disconnect between the amount of support on offer and the amount that business travellers require may well have surfaced due to a lack of communication. There is a discrepancy between the amount of individuals aware that is exists (78%) and the number of travellers who knew who they would need to contact in an emergency situation (36%). This crucial information that all travellers – Duty of Care aware or not – to be equipped with.
However, employees also noticed that their organisation was learning lessons and becoming more responsible. Twenty seven per cent of respondents noted that recent incidents (both environmental and terrorist-related) had driven a change in policy. For those companies, there was a restriction on business trips to certain areas or investment into risk management solutions.
Baker continued: “It’s good to see companies reacting to the changing environment we find ourselves in, but the numbers show why we must continue developing the technology that gives businesses the awareness and infrastructure they need. There is no easy solution with the global marketplace many operate in, so companies need technology that allows them to accurately locate and contact their employees in the case of an emergency. Of course, technology is one simply one side of the coin; it’s clear that awareness and understanding of duty of care needs to be improved for both companies and the travellers themselves to provide a true environment of care.”
Run in conjunction with Innofact, the study looked at 1,050 full and part-time employees across the UK in regards to their businesses duty of care plans and attitudes. The employees in question were based across both the SMB and enterprise sectors and were evenly distributed between men and women.