The fear of COVID-19 is still evident in our lives even after the rollout of vaccines. About 42% of the U.S. workforce is still working from home, and 73% of employees are still worried about returning to normal office life.
This concern is somewhat why companies like Twitter, Square, and Zillow still support their work-from-home policies. Google, MasterCard, Target, and Ford have equally delayed their return-to-work to curb the spread of the virus, especially the recent, potentially more fatal strains.
Slow business travel
Business travel has been adversely affected since the onset of the pandemic, and there are no signs of reverting to the status quo anytime soon. The U.S. Travel Association revealed that travel spending declined by $492 billion from March through the end of 2020.
To provide more insights on how business travel has taken a beating, here are more statistics:
- Around 49% of executives believe it will take between 2 and 3 years for business spending on travel to return to the usual levels. 20% believe it will never go back to how it was before the pandemic.
- Bill Gates believes 50% of business travel will vanish.
- Research indicates that between 19% and 36% of business travel could be trimmed by COVID-19.
Why are companies slow to resume business travel?
The reasons why businesses are saying no to COVID-19 business travel at the moment boils down to the following:
Despite the Harvard School of Public Health report showing there are a few chances of getting exposed to the virus on airplanes, data from airlines shows that only nearly half of domestic flights were scheduled in November 2020 compared to the same month the previous year. The concern has been that there are many touchpoints during travel (these include people met and places visited) that increase exposure. As such, businesses are still not ready to put employees in positions requiring business trips when their safety isn’t guaranteed.
Not ready for liabilities
Since the start of the pandemic, over 1,900 COVID-19 related lawsuits have been filed against employers. Such lawsuits are a huge burden to any business, and that is partly why most of them aren’t ready to make arrangements for trips, trade shows, or host in-person events when it is potentially unsafe.
Saving money on travel
Companies have continued to note reduced business travels have no impact on the bottom line, significantly reducing the urgency of resuming business trips. With virtual meetings proving to be more effective than ever before, companies aren’t seeing the need to fly employees for meetings which come with additional costs while there is a cheaper alternative. Would you still cling to the old norm while the new norm is saving you money on travel?
Should companies reintroduce all travel post-Covid-19?
COVID-19 has shed light that business trips aren’t as essential as they were pre-COVID. For the period that the pandemic has been around, many companies have managed to maintain their operations without business travels— thanks to the convenience of digital tools like Zoom and Meet that have made meetings possible.
For that reason, there is no justifiable reason why businesses should attempt to revert to old business travel at once. They need to focus on getting the most out of the new ways available to reach their goals while working on reverting to the old ways at a rate that is convenient to them. It is projected virtual events will be big in 2021 and continue to dominate for the next several years.
Employees’ safety and health continue to be a top priority at the moment, with business travel having little impact on the bottom line. As such, it isn’t worth resuming all travel post-COVID-19 at once. A slow-but-sure approach is healthier—and when they feel pressured to work remotely, they should consider engaging companies like DevReady that have top developers to boost their productivity. Interested to learn how DevReady can support your productivity without traveling as usual? Schedule a call today to speak with one of our experts.