Months ago, the mere thought of travelling anywhere other than from the sofa to the home office would be enough to strike fear into the hearts of millions of workers, but following months of self-isolation, government-enforced lockdowns and social distancing, it seems that travel for business purposes is something that most workers would now relish rather than run from.
This shift has been confirmed by researchers, too. A new Emburse and YouGov survey has set out to examine the changing attitudes to business travel and threw up some surprising results, with 40% of those surveyed saying that if they were now offered the opportunity to travel for business, they would look forward to a break away from their household.
When delving deeper into the reason why workers now believe that business trips would be beneficial, an overwhelming 70% stated that travelling for work and conducting face-to-face meetings will help to strengthen business relationships. This is significant given the hurdles many businesses have faced around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Globally, the appetite to travel is also increasing, with the US and Chinese markets growing. Overall, the global business travel industry is expected to increase from US$674.5 Billion in 2020 to US$791.9 Billion in 2026.
Why is there an appetite for business travel right now?
After more than 18 months of Zoom meetings and telephone calls, it seems that this renewed interest in business travel has twofold benefits, the first being the belief that relationships can be strengthened by face to face meetings.
Secondly, the opportunity for travel acts as a good incentive for employee attraction and retention. Younger workers especially are keen to get away to explore new cities in their free time with 52% wanting to escape the house on a business trip compared with just 32% of respondents aged 55+.
Interestingly, the employees with children also stated a strong desire to take up business travel, with the percentage gradually increasing in direct correlation with the number of children they had at home.
Therefore, any employer that either offers or is thinking of offering staff business travel as part of their roles should take this change in attitude as a positive one and look to utilise it as a workplace perk to aid employee retention and candidate attraction.
From ensuring that your job adverts and descriptions all note that business travel may be part and parcel of the role when business needs dictate, to offering employers the chance to head off abroad to visit an overseas branch of the company or valued client as an incentive for hard work and commitment, travelling for business purposes could be the new work perk that many employees crave. From a business perspective, the good news is that it won’t actually cost you extra if this is something that you’ve been requiring anyway – so make the most of it!