< PrevNext > Travel Risk Will Increase as Workforce Demographics Diversify By International SOS & MedAire SVP & regional medical director Dr. Robert Quigley / January 22, 2019 Share Companies send employees abroad now more than ever, but the evolving demographics of the average business traveler bring with them new health and security risks. Ipsos Mori recently released its annual Business Resilience Trends Watch, revealing that 43 percent of business decision makers expect travel risks to increase in 2019. This year's most vulnerable business travelers globally include:LGBTQ: Only 9 percent of travel policies cover LGBTQ considerations.Those with disabilities and mental health issues: Only 10 percent of travelers with disabilities are covered by travel policies, while only 11 percent of travelers with mental health issues are covered.Women: Just 26 percent of travel policies cover considerations for female travelers.There is a major gap between what travel risk programs are equipped for and the needs of today's business travelers. That grim reality opens the doors to dangerous risks both for businesses and for their travelers.To protect the modern workforce, companies should assume that their staffs are comprised of different subsets of risk profiles and ensure their policies are inclusive of all. They should offer travel risk e-learning modules that are updated and mandatory for all employees who travel for business every year. Beyond updating the standard travel policy, organizations need to offer modules that better cater to specific business travelers, including gender, age, preexisting medical conditions, sexual orientation and mental health status.Facilitation of programs and educational processes that destigmatize certain employee profiles invites high employee confidence and better duty of care. For example, a corporate environment should destigmatize mental health by recognizing it as a potentially serious medical condition, as the company would a heart defect or a lung condition. By placing emphasis on mental health, the company can create an open conversation for employees to discuss the struggles they face when traveling for work. Through these channels, companies and employees can work together to create solutions that will best serve their travelers.Additionally, to identify the most prevalent threats to the traveler and to the organization, companies should incorporate health metrics into annual reporting. This can be an excellent first step in analyzing how business travelers are handling the health and safety risks of business travel. Employee health indicators are becoming core to existing corporate social responsibility, sustainability and integrated reporting.There is no one-size-fits-all answer to travel program implementation. It's important for companies to update their programs year after year to better fit their mobile workforces. If they do not update their education and preparatory travel programs for the modern workforce, they open themselves to violations of duty of care and they compromise business travelers' safety.