In my last article, I wrote about the importance to corporate bosses of “duty of care” for their employees when embarking on business travel and made the observation that in accordance with international reports, this and “traveller well-being” are no longer nice to have’s but need to take priority. Because this is an extensive subject, I did promise to unpack it in a bit more detail and to explore exactly what it is that incentivises not only a new generation of employees but those who have crawled out of a restrictive covid cocoon with a fresh approach to business travel – and let’s face it – to life! In another insightful article from Skift, I came across what I, as a corporate head, am also experiencing as a couple of the most significant trends that I believe employers need to be cognisant of in business travel. These are…
This, the combining of business and taking some time off for leisure travel whilst in the area, is probably the most significant trend. It is one that began some time ago pre-covid, which now, post-covid, seems to be almost a non-negotiable for employees. One can’t help but agree with them, because it simply makes sense. Why not, after all the expense of the flight (or other mode of transport) and the effort of complying with the red tape involved with getting to a destination, not take advantage of being there and learning from the experience in some well-earned leisure time?
I have long believed that whatever you are selling there are some significant advantages to exploring the culture and the people in an area and extending your formal business meetings to obtaining some “on the ground” education about their lives and preferences.
Travel as a perk!
Post covid, after so many good people had to be made redundant, the recruitment and retention of good staff has become a priority for corporate bosses. The fact that employees now, more than ever, view travel as a perk and an incentive simply can’t be ignored. As the Skift article put it, “Employees who travel often feel more empowered and engaged. Travel can even help improve confidence and interpersonal relationship skills. More companies are acknowledging these effects and seeing the link between these and business travel. A robust, dynamic corporate travel program can be used as a tool to encourage employee engagement, improve employee retention, and drive organizational growth”.
A new world of business travel as seen through the looking glass of the employee
My take on this is simply that; gone are the days of business travel being seen as an arduous task that has to be undertaken, either to appease corporate bosses or, for that matter to serve the purposes of the Entrepreneur. We have gone through a metamorphosis of realising that life is just too short to do anything that does not carry with it some significance or lends itself to us living a more meaningful and purposeful life. Many of us lost friends in the blink of an eye and covid was a sobering experience that emphasised the frailty of our mortality.
We are now living in a new era and it is one in which our employees want to emerge from the dark tunnel of covid into the light and spread their wings – exploring new places and new opportunities. We can all empathise with that because, I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how I feel too. So, let’s not be restrictive and blind to what matters to the people that matter to us. Let’s be cognisant of the needs and wants of our people and recognise and embrace these important business travel trends that make for happier employees!
As always, travel safely and keep the wanderlust alive!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER