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An excellent article this month in The Business Travel Magazine discussed the thin line between employee privacy and an employer’s duty of care for their people who travel. Whilst much of the article was concerned with sending people into high-risk areas – which is not generally the case with our customers – one statement stood out for us:

“Employers that wish to monitor [their travellers] should seek the explicit consent of individual members of staff. They should be mindful that if monitoring is used to enforce behaviour rather than watch for safety and security issues, it can have the adverse effect of making employees feel resentful and untrusted.”

We strongly endorse this concept. We even go a bit further: Before an SME signs up with us, we recommend that their travellers view our video of the Travel Tracking and Travel Security options available with Mia Bazo, then themselves reach a consensus on the level of security that feels comfortable for them.

For example, people may decide that they’re happy to respond to SMS requests (e.g. “Are you about to board flight 187 from Houston to Mexico City?), and happy to respond to a safety check-in each day they’re away, but they don’t want to turn on the feature in the app that lets Mia Bazo track their phone.

Employers could just mandate cooperation with security measures, as a condition of employment, but we don’t recommend it. As big believers in the social aspect of ESG (Environmental Social Governance), it’s our opinion that telling people “These are the travel policies, if you don’t like them, you can walk”, creates the opposite of a working environment in which people know they are trusted and valued. And who would want to work there?

The security measures that work best are ones the travellers have chosen themselves; exercising your duty of care should always be a collaboration.

J Laurence Sarno

J Laurence Sarno is co-founder and CMO of Mia Bazo, with more than 30 years in technology marketing. He led his first socially responsible company in the late 1970s and is passionate about ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance).

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