[Image courtesy of Flickr user sebastien lebrigand via a Creative Commons license]
Many government agencies have very mobile (or nomadic) work forces which travel all around the country or the world, and/or have remote locations in which they work outside of their home offices. Workers who travel a lot can find themselves at risk of losing their safety, and if an employer deems those workers as assets, they may have systems in place to keep tabs on the workers and ensure they are and remain safe regardless of the circumstances in which they travel or their destinations.
Based on recent results of a survey of federal government employees, worker safety on the road is at least perceived as not being of high interest or importance to these government agencies. These employees don’t want to be watched all the time, but they do want a hug from their employers when they are traveling safely!
That “hug” is simply a connected and consistent duty-of-care communication system, which many federal employees say is lacking across many parts of government. A recent survey of federal employees by Government Business Council (GBC) and Concur found that more than 80 percent of those surveyed said they experienced interruptions, disruptions and issues while either traveling for work or working from a remote location. Additionally, less than 20 percent of respondents said that their agency was passing along safety risks or threats, and just one in nine said their agencies provided security for their electronic devices (computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets).
Eighty percent report safety and security issues, and only 20 percent get advance warning, and barely 10 percetn even have secure electronics in their possession. Let that sink in for a minute.
It seems that many federal agencies are still relying on systems that are 15 and 20 years old, such as agency-wide e-mails,one-to-one communication between manager and employee and emergency notification systems (ENS) in regards to safety issues. And it was admitted that only about 40 percent of managers say they have a system that allows them to confirm employee safety within one hour of an emergency situation.
And this feedback seems to be disconnected between more senior-level staffers and the regular rank-and-file workers. Seems that the higher up you are in a government food chain, the more that they feel “cared for” by their agencies – nearly 80 percent of those mid- and-senior level employees surveyed said that their agency was proactive when it came to travel safety, while less than 60 percent of lower-level employees felt the same way.
What to glean from this information is that your own company, no matter how large or complex it is, should have equal care and access to travel safety alerts and communication with all you traveling and remote workers. Every worker is important regardless of pay grade – each one is an asset to your company, and you should treat them all equally when they are out of your office, representing your company.
If you woud like to know the details of the survey and read about some of the suggestions to make safety communicaton more seamless between workers and employers, see the GBC report here.