health of business travelers

Protecting Assignees’ Health During Business Travels  

Once in a while, the hiring company will have to send his foreign assignee, who is currently working in its office in the United States, to a business trip to another city or country. And while most of these destinations are relatively safe, the issuance of health protocols and guidelines cannot be overlooked. The assignee is still under the jurisdiction and/or scope of responsibility of the company, which makes it answerable to his well-being.

There is nothing like an unexpected health alarm to remind global mobility specialists of this requirement. For example, the threat of the Zika virus is global. CNN notes that the U.S. issued travel advisories for American citizens, including business people, to observe “health precautions” while traveling abroad. Pregnant women were especially advised to reconsider travel plans as Zika can inflict microcephaly on their unborn children even at an early stage.

The Health Service Executive lists down various diseases that all business travelers should be aware of, as well as the conditions that can lead to their infection. Sunburn and heatstroke usually happen in tropical and/or very warm countries. The traveler’s digestive incompatibility with a new location’s food can cause irritating diarrhea which can last for days; another cause is poor personal hygiene. The bites and stings of insects in so-called exotic environments can trigger fever, rashes, rabies, allergies, and worse of all, malaria.

AIDS remains a global pandemic, and business travelers should be extra careful when it comes to engaging in any kind of contact that will bring about blood transfusion.

Global mobility specialists can give their assignees the following guidelines to lessen exposure  and reduce risks of contracting illness while on a business trip:

  • Keep yourself informed of the medical history of any place you are visiting. Narrow it down from country, region, city, to community. Be cautious about common diseases that frequent those places.
  • Take vaccine shots like anti-malaria before you even leave your country of origin.
  • Avail of a 24/7 hotline that the company should provide you, if you need to get medical answers at any given point in time. It will also come in handy in case you have an emergency situation.
  • Report any unusual medical development that you may experience at the home office, regardless of how it seemingly insignificant appears, e.g. a slight fever or food indigestion.
  • Make sure you have a support system while doing business in the host country. This includes embassies, health centers, reliable cab or other transport services, and housing accommodations. California Corporate Housing cooperates with global mobility specialists as who  take care of their assignees based in Northern California.
  • If you did suffer any kind of illness during the business trip, have your company doctor give you a medical exam before you report to work.
  • Safety remains paramount. If at any point in time, facts and recent information advise you against visiting that host country, then postpone the trip until the coast is clear.

Prevention is still worth a pound of cure. And that applies equally to your assignee on a business trip that will take him out of your (or the company’s) immediate support system.