Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many business people are realising just how travel is beginning to change. With more safety procedures in place than ever before and a focus on using technology, there’s much to adapt to.
Despite the move to online workplaces, some businesses have found no alternative to face-to-face interactions. We’re going to look at how business travel is set to change for both the short and long term.
Business travel in the future
If we look at the shorter-term, we can expect current safety guidelines to stay in place for quite some time. This includes staying in coronavirus-friendly hotels, taking tests before and after travel, and keeping social interaction to a minimum.
However, there are predicted future travel trends in the business world expected to come about. Let’s take a look…
1. Facial recognition in airports
While facial recognition may have a bit of stigma, it’s going to speed up border control procedures. Business people can expect to see more and more facial recognition technology as they travel for business meetings abroad. Coronavirus is just one example of a situation whereby this simple yet highly effective technology is helping immensely. Although we may see some tightening in regulations, we can expect such technology to stick around far into the future!
2. Covid-19 testing will continue
Current circumstances surrounding testing for coronavirus before travelling will continue to be the norm. For those due to take a business trip in the future, there are options to reduce quarantine time upon return to the UK. By law, anyone who travels outside of the country must isolate for 10 days. However, with a negative Test to Release result, this period can be reduced. So, while coronavirus testing may continue – and may be a requirement for travel for months or years to come – it is becoming quicker and easier to get fast, accurate results thanks to technology.
3. AIs and intelligent assistants are on the rise
The rise of AIs and intelligent assistants are already seeing an impact on our day-to-day living. From instructing Alexa to switch on our lights at home to checking the weather forecast without using our mobiles, there’s plenty of benefits to reap. AIs in the future will likely be able to inform us of any possible disruptions to our itineraries and help us make changes quickly even on a business level.
4. Destinations could be limited
Currently, every country has its own rules regarding allowing visitors from abroad. As it stands, many countries have closed their borders and do not allow holiday-goers or even those travelling for business-related reasons. While we can expect a better future in terms of coronavirus, destinations may be limited for quite some time. Such limitations may also be imposed by business owners themselves who are concerned about the risks to staff members travelling.
5. Communication is more digital than ever
Almost every workforce in the UK has embraced the likes of Zoom calls and have realised it is possible to work and connect remotely. Where possible, digital communication is expected to replace business travel in a bid to reduce expenses. Business trips cost money and take up time; with an infinite amount of possibilities at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to get important tasks done from our laptops.
6. More sustainable travelling
As the topic of our climate continues to be in the headlines, more businesses are moving towards practising sustainable travel. A business trip must be taken into consideration when looking at a company’s eco-footprint. Therefore, where travelling can be avoided, you can expect more employers to look at avoiding it altogether. Where a business trip can be replaced with a virtual meeting, it will likely be done. However, many employers also recognise the value of such trips and will likely reduce the number of trips as a sensible alternative.
What does this mean for frequent business travellers?
Of course, it comes down to the business owner to decide whether or not their employees should be travelling for the company’s interests. However, many employees stress that such trips have great positive effects on job satisfaction, colleague relationships, and their sense of pride in their job.
From broadening cultural horizons to mixing up the daily work routine, many benefits come with business trips. Therefore, while the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is putting such trips on hold, for now, travel for business will continue.
And, from the points above, there is an alternative outlook for each. From making more eco-friendly travel choices to in-person communication being of great value, employers should be looking to adapt to find a happy medium for their employees.
Written by Callum Jackson