Setting up a corporate housing policy for your business? That’s a big deal. To arrive at this juncture means you’re obviously doing something right, congratulations.
Business travel and sourcing lodging for your employees may feel overwhelming – and frankly, it used to be – but in the age of technology, some vital and innovative changes have emerged.
We’re here to pull back the curtain and share some tips on how to quickly and efficiently set up a corporate housing policy for your business. One that works for you, the stakeholders, and of course, the rest of the team.
Similar to creating any other policy, you want to think about the objectives. What are the goals? What is the reason for this policy, and what does it aim to achieve?
Besides the obvious ones like keeping costs at a minimum, you want to think about additional aspects. Things like fostering employee safety and productivity while traveling, and other guidelines that provide parameters regarding accommodation.
If you’re not totally sure, take a deep dive into the company culture. Revisit the mission statement for additional guidance.
What’s Typically Included
Along with accommodation, transportation and food are also typically included within the company travel policy.
Consider offering a per diem max, either a set amount or one that’s established based on the cost of living at the travel destination.
If your employee will be on location for a few months or more, it may not make sense to provide a per diem for meals – especially since you’ll likely set them up in a one bedroom or studio apartment with a kitchen where they can cook their meals – but lodging and transportation should still be included.
Cost associated with commuting can sometimes be mitigated by finding a short-term rental close to the job site, depending on where it is. Housing in bustling downtown cities means you’ll likely pay more. When looking for housing in densely populated urban areas, don’t forget to check for additional costs, such as parking fees.
Give Employees Options
Your employees have different lifestyles and preferences, so giving them a choice of housing requirements or location whenever possible – within the parameters of the budget – is an excellent way to keep them happy.
A great way to do this is to draw up a sheet of paper with a list of amenities and features, such as an onsite gym, washing machine, pet friendly, etc. This provides valuable insight into what your employees enjoy. The employee is able to take that list, and check off each component that’s important to them. The point of this is to get an idea of what they like; don’t worry if you can’t accommodate all their requests.
Establishing a one size fits all corporate housing budget is nearly impossible. Even within states, the amount you’ll pay for corporate housing in Dallas will be very different than, say, Austin, a mere three hours away.
To mitigate this, think in terms of “stars” or other popular ranking methods used to differentiate properties, and draw up your policy accordingly.
Cost of living calculators is quite helpful when it comes to budget projection.
Hotels and Corporate Housing
If your team is only traveling somewhere for a few days, a hotel near the location is probably your best option. Most budget hotels are still comfortable – Marriott, Doubletree and Radisson do their best to maintain neat and tidy premises, and support guests who have questions or concerns.
If your team will be on location for weeks or more and you’re looking for lodging, why not make it part of your policy to enlist the services of a company who does the property search for you, free of charge?
Quite a few have arrived on the scene recently. Travelers Haven, for example, takes your travel dates, location, budget and other criteria, and generates a list of viable options for you. All you have to do is choose your favorite. Their accounting process is simple, another perk. Plus, if there is an issue with the property, they’ll help you rectify it. Their statewide experts are familiar with different cities and regions, and can provide additional invaluable insight.
They have properties everywhere, including small middle of nowhere towns.
Using a service to help you find short-term housing and corporate housing rentals ultimately saves a ton of time and makes the whole process much easier.
Be Open to Suggestion
Ask the rest of the team and whomever else is impacted for suggestions, and make sure the team understands and is on board with the budget and objectives.
Your corporate housing policy should be one that facilitates comfort, convenience and productivity, and remains as consistent as possible within the parameters of the budget. Something you’re free to revisit and adjust as your business continues to grow.