Business Travel Management
Debunking Common Misconceptions About Duty of Care

Debunking 3 Common Misconceptions About Duty of Care

Samantha Shankman

29 Nov 2023
3 minute read
Duty of Care Is So Much Bigger Than You Think

The work landscape has undergone a profound transformation, marked by the rise of remote work, flexible schedules, and dynamic team structures. As companies adapt to these changes, a critical consideration surfaces: How far-reaching is the obligation of duty of care? 

Does it confine itself to the traditional office space, or does it extend its shield to remote work, diverse work settings, and the nuanced contours of the modern work ecosystem?

As companies embark on a season of holiday parties, end-of-year offsites, and quiet weeks, let's unravel the common misconceptions surrounding the duty of care and illuminate a path for organizations seeking a comprehensive understanding of their responsibilities.

What is duty of care?

Duty of care is an organization’s moral and legal obligation to ensure the safety of traveling employees while on business trips.

Understanding Duty of Care in the Modern Workplace

Duty of care is a company’s organizational commitment to ensuring its workforce’s safety, security, and well-being. Yes, duty of care goes beyond physical safety to encompass mental health, work-life balance, and overall job satisfaction. Recognizing these holistic needs of employees contributes not only to a compliant workplace but also to a thriving, engaged workforce.

Misconception #1: Duty of Care is Limited to Business Travel

Duty of care isn't confined to business travel. Duty of care extends its protective wings beyond the departure gate and is a constant companion in the everyday work journey.

The evolving nature of work means employers play a role in employees' lives outside of boardrooms and business trips. In a world increasingly shaped by remote work, duty of care transcends physical locations. Organizations should aim to foster an environment where duty of care isn't a checkbox but ingrained in company culture, providing unwavering support irrespective of the work location.

Misconception #2: Remote Workers Aren't Covered

Another prevailing misconception suggests that duty of care somehow skips over remote workers. Let's set the record straight. The landscape of work has evolved, and so has duty of care—it travels with your employees wherever they set up shop.

Whether your team is jet-setting across continents or logging in from their living rooms, consistent care is paramount. A holistic duty of care strategy embraces the unique challenges faced by remote teams.

Misconception #3: Duty of Care is Solely HR's Responsibility

Contrary to the belief that duty of care rests solely on the shoulders of HR, it is, in fact, a collective responsibility that permeates every facet of an organization. While HR may initiate and lead, duty of care involves every department and every team member.

It's an ethos that should be embraced from the C-suite to entry-level positions, reinforcing the idea that everyone has a role in creating a safe and supportive workplace.

By understanding duty of care as a shared responsibility, organizations can foster a culture where each individual contributes to the well-being of their colleagues. This collective approach strengthens the fabric of the workplace, making duty of care not just about compliance but a commitment to employee welfare.

Hear Directly From Navan Customers

"Our partnership with Navan allows Boxers around the globe to use one platform to book all their travel. We know who is traveling, where they’re traveling, and if a disaster happens, we know how to get to them."

- Ritu Varma, Senior Director of Treasury and Shared Services, Box

Future-Proofing Duty of Care: Eight Tips

From one travel management team to another, here are practical steps and best practices tailored to enhance Duty of Care, while fostering a resilient and secure work environment:

  • Clear Communication Protocols: Establish transparent communication channels to inform your team, especially during travel or remote work scenarios. 
  • Pre-Travel Briefings: Conduct thorough pre-travel briefings, emphasizing safety measures and potential risks at the destination. Equip your team with essential information on local healthcare facilities, emergency services, and contact details for assistance.
  • Travel Itinerary Visibility: Maintain real-time visibility into your team's travel itineraries. Leverage travel management tools to track and monitor their movements to enable a swift response in case of emergencies or unexpected events.
  • Emergency Response Plans: Develop emergency response plans tailored to different travel scenarios.
  • Remote Work Guidelines: Provide detailed guidelines for remote work that address potential challenges and promote a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Health and Safety Resources: Compile a repository of health and safety resources, including vaccination information, travel advisories, and updates on local health conditions. 
  • Regular Training and Drills: Conduct regular training sessions and drills to reinforce duty of care protocols. 
  • Continuous Feedback Mechanism: Establish a feedback loop that adjusts for new information and learnings.

Prepare your team for the future. Learn more about Navan’s duty of care tools.

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