A discussion by our first UnitedHealthcare Global Advisory Panel

The first half of 2021 signalled a renewed time of flux for many companies – with rolling restrictions alternating between countries (and within), and vaccine programmes being rolled out at varying speeds. Preparation, contingency planning and flexibility will be key as businesses continue to manage the ripple-effect of the pandemic. What is certain though, is that attitudes are shifting and there’s appetite and energy for the road ahead.

It has been reported that around 50% of companies are launching root-and-branch reviews of their policies, with most anticipating a hybrid model of some form for their employees working between home and office.1 This similarly reflects employee attitudes, with 88% saying they want a more flexible working approach on a permanent basis, post-Covid-19.2  But what does this mean for domestic and international workplace travel?

UnitedHealthcare Global’s first Health Advisory Panel explored the theme of Preparedness and unpicked the challenges faced by many employers as they continue to shift from reactive measures to proactively remodelling and planning for the longer-term picture. The virtual panel, hosted by Health & Wellbeing consultant Jayne Carrington, explored how employers can create and embed truly flexible healthcare and wellbeing policies, and how they can futureproof these to support business travel and expat assignments.

Ultimately, employers need to spend time educating their workforce on the services available to them while away or travelling, such as wellbeing programmes and virtual care, to build a culture of proactive wellbeing. Employers need to think of flexible ways of working to attract and retain talent. They should also train and mentor leaders to build a culture that supports this from the top down.

Services such as pre-assignment Health Assessments can help plan and mitigate future health risks expats or business travellers may face while abroad. Proactive communication is key.

Below are our key takeaways from the session: 

  • Pre-assignment Health Assessments can help plan and mitigate future health risks expats or business travellers may face while abroad.
  • Increased hygiene measures, such as handwashing, should continue to be promoted in the workplace.
  • Employers and employees should use Global Intelligence tools to help them prepare for business travel and assignments to understand the health and security risks and local health infrastructure of the destination.
  • It’s key to help your employees ‘Return better’ through a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Stay tuned for a blog on further insights from additional Health Advisory panels!

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1: https://www.ft.com/content/d2ad4ae3-6b40-4051-a6fe-6f8a75924e30,

2: https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/content/dam/robert-walters/country/united-kingdom/files/whitepapers/robert-walters-a-new-world-of-work-e-guide.pdf