Readers in the UK will be very aware of the riots that took place across London and other major cities recently. The violence and speed with which it escalated, spreading across the capital and other parts of the country, was alarming.
For those working in London, whether commuting into the city on a regular basis or making ad hoc visits, the riots caused special challenges. During the week of rioting, public transport routes were disrupted and roads were closed, making travel around and out of the city more difficult and even dangerous. Buildings were damaged, looted and in some cases, set on fire, so many shopkeepers as well as owners of bars and restaurants boarded up their properties to avoid a similar fate.
Employers have a duty of care to ensure they are not placing their staff in harm’s way when these kinds of incidents happen, but what is the best way to help business travellers in all this chaos? With rioting beginning in daylight hours, during the afternoons, workers were sent home early and advised to avoid trouble hotspots. And in those situations it is crucial that worried employees can change their travel arrangements quickly and easily. Concur’s apps do this with the minimum of fuss.
The last thing you want to be doing as a business traveller is getting stuck in a trouble hotspot where public transport is shut, roads are closed down and rioters are claiming the streets. In this uncertainty, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and cancel any non-essential meetings or work engagements to opt for calls or video conferences instead.
Mobile travel management apps, such as Concur Travel and TripIt, allow companies to keep tabs on where their employees are – something that is particularly useful in times of crisis. Through TripIt, users can share their travel itineraries with friends and family, meaning those closest to them will have visibility into their plans, as they adapt to changing circumstances. With Concur’s new Locate & Alert service, companies can leverage all available itinerary data and provide employees with an easy way to “check in” with their current location using their mobile device. The service enables companies to locate employees and communicate important message and alerts via voice, text and email to help ensure their safety and security during a crisis.
While we are relieved the violence has subsided quickly and hope that those communities affected by the riots continue to recover, it is necessary to be as prepared as possible in case tensions ever flare up again and business travellers are caught in the middle.