International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services company, today revealed the results of the 2017 Business Impact of Travel Risk survey.

International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services company, today revealed the results of the 2017 Business Impact of Travel Risk survey.

Key findings, from the survey of European executives, include that travel security risk mitigation programmes are undermined by a lack of effective communication, with 70% of respondents planning to address this in 2017, and 60% have only a partial or no understanding at all of medical threats faced by their mobile workforce.

In addition to certification in accordance to the guidelines provided in ISO/TS 13131, International SOS has achieved global certification to ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems for its Assistance Centres, International SOS clinics and Medical Services.

Other top insights revealed by the International SOS 2017 Business Impact of Travel Risk survey1 include:

  • 46% said health and travel security incidents had an impact on their business continuity
  • 27% are still moderately to not confident in their level of preparedness
  • Only 50% of organisations have conducted a comprehensive review of the health of their mobile workforce
  • Only 39% have a wellness programme in place

Karel van de Pijpekamp, Managing Director Northern Europe at International SOS comments, “While organisations have medical and travel security risks high on the agenda, the survey demonstrates that a rigorous implementation and an on-going communication process is key to ensuring programmes are utilised effectively.  This highlights potential cost and business continuity risks if travel security issues aren’t managed successfully due to a lack of communication. It also highlights a possible gap in Duty of Care when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of mobile workforces.”

Information and communication during crisis

With the troubling events of 2016, organisations have increasingly become aware of the challenges in protecting their people and the potential issues in their travel risk mitigation programmes.  The respondents report the greatest challenges in mitigating travel risks during recent crisis were:

Access to information about the situation

43%

Communication

43%

Awareness of roles and responsibilities

30%

Location of employees

30%

Assistance on the ground

27%

Over 40% of European organisations had difficulties with access to information and communicating with their staff in 2016. Respondents plan the following actions to mitigate risk of their mobile workforce in 2017:

Improve communication

70%

Review/Gap analysis of travel risk policy and procedures

51%

Provide regular training to mobile workers

50%

Drill with crisis simulation exercises

47%

Xavier Carn Regional Security Director for Europe at International SOS and Control Risks, said: “Should another major travel security incident occur tomorrow, 27% organisations declared they were still moderately to not confident in their level of preparedness. Testing both plans and procedures are a critical success factor of travel risk management to ensure the continuity of the business.”

Organisations challenged to know better how well their mobile workforce is

Despite the fact organisations have mobile workforce risk management high on their agenda (64% of respondents), 60% have only a partial or no understanding at all of medical threats and hazards faced by their mobile workforce, and more than half don’t have health and wellbeing programmes in place.

% of organisations which have:

Wellness programme

39%

Return to work

56%

Impact of operations on local community health

58%

Health communication

61%

Understanding of the link between worker wellbeing, absenteeism and productivity

66%

Health data protection

67%

Training and access to expert information of mobile workers

71%

Infectious or contagious outbreak

71%

Emergencies

75%

 

Dr Mark Parrish, Regional Medical Director - at International SOS commented:“Organisations understand the link between worker wellbeing, absenteeism rate and long term productivity, (66% of the respondents) but only 39% have a wellness programme in place despite the fact that wellbeing is likely to become increasingly important in the future and translates into better business outcomes.”

“Preventing an infectious outbreak, an accident or sufferings is crucial for an organisation. Promoting wellbeing at work and having a return to work procedure is also its responsibility to ensure the continuity of the business. Today, we see a need for the occupational safety and health practitioners to understand and implement global health risk plans within their organisation. Most organisations do something about health risks assessment and management but usually in a fairly ad hoc, uncoordinated way.”

The process should start with having a comprehensive review of what is done for the mobile workforce from an occupational health, sickness absence, health communication, employee health and wellness perspective.”

View our 2017 Business Impact of Travel Risk Infographic

About International SOS

International SOS (internationalsos.com) is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries.  Our expertise is unique: more than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members. We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest. We are passionate about helping clients put Duty of Care into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.

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