US companies impose travel restrictions

More than half of US employers have imposed temporary
restrictions on new international assignments in the aftermath of the September
11 terrorist attacks.

Research in the US by the Society for Human Resource
Management (SHRM) and Cendant Mobility shows that companies are now considering
alternative approaches to international business, with 34 per cent looking at
more short-term assignments and 27 per cent telecommuting.

The study of 218 firms looked at the impact and business
response to the current global climate and found that 52 per cent of staff
responsible for international assignments admitted that their firm was taking
action to deal with the issue, which included increased security, temporary
restrictions and telecommuting.

Kevin Kelleher, president of international assignment
services company Cendant Mobility, said, "The mode is evaluation, caution
and readiness like never before. There has been a renewed focus on employee
safety and sharpened attention to policies as related to crisis planning, communications
and tracking of employees on assignments."

Forty-four per cent of respondents are worried about
evacuation and contingency plans and 22 per cent have doubts about the safety
of air travel.

SHRM president Helen Drinan called on companies to provide
better information for staff. "Those responsible for managing global
assignments want and need reliable information within a larger context that
allows them to make informed decisions," she said.

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