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Travel is an important part of business, especially for companies that offer their services on a global scale. Before 2020, travel could be booked and managed without a thought, but now the arrival of COVID-19 has made things complicated.

Although many precautions must be made, there are options if you still need to meet up with associates, whether they are across the country or on the other side of the world. If you cannot travel to a particular place, technology may have a way for you to reach out and keep employees in check. Let’s look at travel issues during COVID-19 and how to make it work even during these difficult times.
The State of Travel During COVID-19

Although the airline industry has grown by leaps and bounds with new technology and efficient travel, the arrival of COVID-19 is just too much to take. Some reports say that airline travel has dropped by upwards of 96%, and airlines may see layoffs of up to 45% of the workforce if this trend continues. There are many reasons for this dip, including the extra steps needed to sanitize the planes, and the masking and social distancing precautions that travelers have to go through when taking their trip. And even though airlines are operational, many of the places that people want to visit are still closed or restricting visitation.

Then there are the travel restrictions in our own country. The Centers for Disease Control has declared that foreign nationals who have visited designated countries within the last 14 days, including China, the United Kingdom, and Brazil, cannot enter the US. This is in an attempt to keep the spread of the virus at bay. Keep this in mind if you had travel plans set with clients from these areas. The trip may have to be canceled or rescheduled for an undetermined time.

On the bright side, road travel levels are basically back to where they used to be before the pandemic hit. So, if you absolutely need to meet a contact and they are within driving distance, it is recommended that you take a car. Experts say this is the safest way to travel. Doing so will not only keep you separated from others, but it could also prove to be less of a hassle.
Safety Precautions

If driving is not an option, and you absolutely must fly for business during this time, then do so with caution and follow the guidelines set forth by the airline and the CDC. Wearing a mask is likely to be required on all flights during the duration of the trip unless you are eating or drinking. Since you will probably need to have a mask during many portions of your trip, bring several with you. You might even deduct masks for you or fellow associates as a business expense.

Before you travel internationally, make sure to check the embassy website of the country you are visiting to verify that there are not any restrictions that will prevent you from going or if they require quarantine once you get there. Also, find out if there are any required vaccinations that you might need and keep up on your standard vaccines at home. In the interest of traveling as safely as possible, take a direct flight and avoid unnecessary stops.

In general, you need to keep yourself healthy during these strange times, so you decrease your chance of getting the virus wherever you go. Wash your hands after every time that you go to the bathroom, eat, or otherwise get them dirty. While you travel, it also wouldn’t hurt to bring hand sanitizer in your carry-on bag. If you begin to feel sick before your trip, it might be best to cancel.
Managing Your Team from Afar

Even companies that use local employees are being forced to work remotely to keep the required distance and avoid unnecessary travel. Because many managers and associates are now working in separate places, they are turning to technology and other methods to keep their businesses moving. You can follow the advice of these remote companies as you manage employees in other parts of the world during these times of everchanging travel restrictions.

First, make sure to set solid expectations, potentially daily if necessary, and have the employees send you progress updates throughout the day. Be strict on what you are requiring and make it clear that you expect results. You can also turn to collaboration tools, like Trello, Jira, and Slack, where everyone can see all projects in progress and easily update the status.

When you cannot meet face to face, technology has the next best thing in the way of video conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype. You can use these applications to have face to face meetings at the touch of a button, and you can even have full-scale board meetings with multiple members without leaving your home. The security features implemented into the video conferencing apps enable you to have meetings about the most secure subjects without fear of cyberthreats.

Yes, we are living in strange times, and our business processes are not what they once were, but we will make it through. When it comes to travel, be smart about your trip, only go long distances when necessary, and use the tools at your fingertips to communicate with employees that are a world away.