Global business operations have historically required a significant amount of travel. Recent challenges have resulted in a seismic shift in the acceptance of virtual alternatives, but face-to-face meetings remain key to building relationships, teams and networking. An obvious solution is therefore to combine virtual assignments with extended business trips.
This combination appears to offer a simple, lower cost alternative to more traditional long- or short-term assignments and can facilitate both team building and knowledge transfer. Yet there are hidden risks and costs to be aware of prior to committing to this approach. Without well-researched and properly implemented policies and tracking processes in place, both the individual business travelers and their employers could be exposed to a range of individual and corporate risks and liabilities.
An Extended Business Traveler (EBT) is an employee who travels abroad for professional purposes for longer periods but usually less than 3 months. These are similar to frequent business travelers (FBT), professionals who often work in a different country than their home but return home regularly.
Developing best practices to mitigate associated risks can involve some simple first steps. Please note that details will vary based on country combination and travel patterns:
- Create a dedicated business travel management function. This ensures that the available resources are invested solely in the research, development and management of business traveler.
- Create effective policies and processes. For each country, develop policies and processes that govern the various types of business travel and duration of visits. These should be based on up-to-date information about the various visa requirements, tax regulations, payroll issues and privacy policies.
- Leverage technology to track employees’ travel data and streamline processes. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant business travel data is accurately monitored and reported. Speak with CapRelo to understand how we can support you with automatically tracking employee travel, as well as coordinating the evaluation of immigration, tax and payroll compliance.
- Integrate the business travel management function into the global mobility program. In many organizations, the responsibility for this mobile population is undefined. With specialized knowledge and support from your CapRelo team, the global mobility team is well-placed to offer guidance and protect the company and employees from any tax and compliance risks.
- Inform managers and employees. Clearly communicate policies, travel eligibility and requirement checklists to ensure that this information is available to both employees and managers to minimize complications and make the process as smooth as possible.
Developing best practices is only the first step to managing business travelers effectively. Employers also need to stay up to date on a variety of immigration, tax and HR elements. Download our checklist to learn more about these issues and safeguard your company and employees from risk.