Travelling is fun as it lets people explore new cultures, interact with new people, and build a better worldview. However, the purpose and experience of travel can alter our perceptions of a place. Most jobs involve travel, and employees are on the move when they work with a few organizations or hold certain roles. Companies make arrangements for the travel. They do not take into account the experience part of it.
Make Your Employee’s Business Trips More Comfortable
While this might not seem paramount, the way your employee views the travel could impact the business outcomes if you think about it. As the world is reeling out of the pandemic and lockdown, the onus is upon the employers now, more than ever, to ensure the employees are comfortable travelling for business. So, here is how you can make your employee’s business trips more comfortable.
Cover Business Meals
In a conventional setting, all business meetings take place in offices and boardrooms. But there could be instances where your employee might have to take your client out for a meal or a few drinks. It could also happen so that the client proposes to meet at a popular restaurant to discuss work. The per diem given to your employee might not cover all the dinner and drinks expenses for the meetings they have with the clients. So, make sure you offer to pay for the business meals.
The new law makes it possible for businesses to file for full deductions on business meal expenses. To claim a hundred per cent business meal deductible, your employee should dine at a restaurant or order food from a delivery service that picks up food from the restaurant and delivers it to the meeting point. However, this exemption is only applicable for business meals and not your employee’s regular dining during the trip. Besides employees, even food bloggers could claim this as a business deduction as they are dining to run their business, which is blogging and reviewing food.
Prioritize Employee Safety
Since the pandemic outbreak, millions of Americans have been working from home. Around 40 per cent of the companies are ready to let their employees continue working from home, while a few are considering a hybrid work culture where the employees have the freedom to work from home and office at their convenience. At times like now, the employee’s safety is paramount when organizations expect them to travel for business. It is important to make sure that the employee is fully vaccinated and their travel has contained the pandemic.
When the employee is travelling, companies need to ensure that their travel, stay, and meeting location is safe, sanitized, and adheres to the World Health Organization and CDC travelguidelines. If the destination country or state is still recovering from the pandemic, it would be wise to fix the meeting in a neutral location or finish the meeting over a video call rather than expecting the employee to travel and put their life at risk. This will help your employee feel valued and comfortable about the business trip.
Travelling for business requires the employee to leave their comfort zone, move to new locations, and meet new people. Focus on building a travel policy that ensures that the employees have a comfortable trip without stinging on the expense. Most travel policies aim at reducing travel expenses and penalizes employees for overspending. However, they do not reward staying within the budget or spending less.
This leads to a few employees spending the travel budget entirely even when not necessary. Instead, educate the employees on the travel budget, spend where necessary, and avoid unnecessary expenses. Build a culture of incentives for employees who stay within the budget, save money on travel, and so on. This will build healthy competition among your travelling employees and encourage them to spend logically. At the same time, it will help you evaluate the unnecessary travel expenses and save money.
Travel expenses reimbursement is a painful process in most organizations. Employees are forced to wait for more than a month in a few instances to reimburse the money they spent on business travel. This could pinch a hole in their pocket and make them reluctant to travel. Organizations need to build a seamless travel experience for their employees. A simple, easy, and efficient way to do this is to have a dedicated travel desk in the office which reviews and processes the travel expenses. Companies should build a policy of reimbursements made within a fortnight.
Alternatively, you could deposit funds in your employees’ accounts before the travel and let them use the money and return the rest based on their expenses. However, this is not feasible at all times and could get difficult to maintain cash records. To avoid confusion and make travel hassle-free, it would be in the best interest of everyone to give company credit cards to people going on business trips. This would equip the employee with the funds needed for the travel while making it easy for the finance department to track the expenditure. In other words, it would be a win-win for all the parties.
Leverage upon technology to build an online travel desk. Your employees could use this to raise travel requests, have their accommodation, transit, and other tickets booked. Similarly, they could use the same portal to update their travel bills which need reimbursements. You could also enable this portal to record the traveling days of the employees so that they’re out of office days are not calculated as day-offs. Technology makes everything seamless and instant. Having a unified portal will make it easy for managers, employees, finance, and the travel desk to be on the same page about business travels. The communication will not be lost in a chain of emails.
These are just a few easy-to-follow tips that will make business travel easy and more comfortable for your employees. We hope these are helpful. Do share your thoughts in the comments section.