The Covid pandemic sent shockwaves around the world in how we do business. Overnight, huge swathes of the worldwide population were working from home whilst homeschooling their children. In the UK, the cycle of being in and out of lockdown has made planning for the future a difficult concept – despite advice from the Government. None more so than for business travel, which has seen a huge reduction since the beginning of 2020.
It’s difficult to know what you need and when – with particular regards to which tests are required to travel abroad, current regulations and contingency plans.
Here, we look to clear up those queries and provide a robust Covid business travel checklist. In doing so, businesses should be able to plan more easily for the future with what business travel is possible.
Covid Business Travel Checklist
Below are the issues that should be thoroughly investigated by a company and its employee, before that employee embarks on an overseas business trip. Additionally, during national lockdowns, it should also be used to ensure that all domestic business trips are safe and adhering to current government guidelines or restrictions.
Of course, the big thing that so many countries require now before you set foot on a plane is a negative PCR Covid test. These can be paid for privately and will vary in result times. Rapid tests are available with results being given in half an hour, but a PCR test can be more reliable. One such supplier of these tests is Medicspot, and these tests take 1-2 days to produce results.
As a consequence, not being able to plan a business trip too far out in advance is still a possibility. Not all countries do require these tests, but ensure that testing is widely available upon your return as the UK now requires a negative test before coming back to the country.
Jabs and Vaccinations
Before any international travel, it is always prudent to check what jabs or vaccinations you may need to enter another country safely. Planning well in advance of any potential travel is helpful if you wish to seek medical advice from your own doctor’s surgery – but there are plenty of private travel clinics that will provide you with both advice and inoculations quickly. Arguably, they may well be better placed to give that advice as they will be an expert service – whereas an NHS surgery may have less in depth knowledge.
In the day and age of Covid, or until a mass global vaccination program has been completed, it could be that a Covid jab is what is required to enter a country.
Having the right health insurance in place before travelling anywhere internationally is a must. Doing so before business travel is crucial as the reason why an individual is in a country can have a huge bearing on what activities they partake in there. As a result, the type of insurance required can vary.
Ensure that all elements of the trip are covered – like flights and travel, but also an appropriate amount of health cover. Some countries will have higher or lower medical costs and the price for repatriating a person can be astronomical.
Given that long Covid and battles with the disease are a real possibility, it is key to have a policy in place that covers you for all healthcare eventualities.
The quarantine restrictions in destination countries and upon return to the UK can have a big implication on the practicalities behind a business trip. Despite the availability of testing being high, there are still requirements for individuals to isolate at either end of their journey.
The length of that isolation can vary. For example, in the UK it is 10 days or after a negative test result taken on day five. To help maintain business continuity, it is important to plan for how these quarantine restrictions will impact an employee’s ability to work effectively.
Of course, after living with the Covid pandemic since the start of 2020, we are all acutely aware of how quickly things can change. As a result, it is a good idea before carrying out any business travel to have contingency plans in place, should the travel not be allowed when it comes to it.
Think therefore about what can be done to minimise any business interruption as well as any negative effects on profits.
Above all, it is important to think through whether the business travel is essential in the first place – or at least beneficial enough to the company to justify all the additional costs of business travel during Covid.
While business travel is certainly possible, tests are a key way that a business can stay one step ahead to keep their travelling employees safe.
Business Travel in Covid Times
Travelling since the outbreak of Covid has been difficult. But the longer it goes on, the easier it has become as testing has become more prevalent, efficient and helpful in highlighting outbreak hotspots.
However, the uncertainty that surrounds Covid will continue for some time yet – particularly given that the vaccination programme around the world could take years to complete. Plus, even when a large proportion of the population has been vaccinated, the virus looks set to become endemic as opposed to wiped out completely.
The various checks that travellers have to complete will therefore likely be continued – as a result, this checklist will help provide some certainty in the future to travellers who use it before embarking on any international business trips.