We all know that industries across the spectrum have had to adapt and readapt for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for the global business travel market, an industry that isn’t expected to fully recover until 2025, after losing more than $710 billion in the last year.
However, while online meetings have kept companies moving forward over the last year, some business travel will always be necessary, whether it is for short-term trips to close a sale or long-term assignments overseas. With vaccine rollouts steadily underway across the globe, what does the future of business travel look like? And what challenges should corporations be ready for?
The Ease of Working from Home
In truth, the chances of contracting COVID-19 on a flight are low, thanks to the way air is filtered throughout the cabin, combined with social distancing and masks. However, that doesn’t change the perception of sitting in a small space with dozens of strangers that could make travelers uncomfortable in the short-term. This issue could also be exacerbated by the destination, depending on the transmission rates or safety protocols in the area. With video conferencing becoming the norm over the last year, wary workers may opt to continue this trend while COVID-19 spread is still a major threat.
But looking at this issue long term, many employees have become comfortable working out of their homes and connecting immediately online, rather than taking the time to travel long distances. A recent study found that more than 50 percent of workers would like to continue to work remotely. With the comfort of working from home, and proven tools to do it effectively, global corporations are likely looking at the return of the mobility premium, especially for long-term assignments. While persuading employees to work oversees has been easy over the last few years, companies could now be looking at hefty financial incentives. This is especially true for countries or areas that have shown the weaknesses in their medical services. Companies need to be prepared to navigate the concerns and expectations of mobile employees that may not have been there in recent years.
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