It appears that the advent of Bleisure travel, where the business traveller combines standard business travel with some time to relax and explore the part of the globe they find themselves in, has spawned a much greater concept.
Some innovative American companies are now looking doing great things to facilitate and encourage working your average 9 to 5 as you travel the globe! This is not such a far-fetched concept in this time when working from anywhere on staggered hours is becoming commonplace.
Video meetings and conferences are quite the norm, even for businesses in the same country, so why not a few thousand kilometres away? Of course, the idea is massively popular with employees, particularly those young and free enough to enjoy working in other countries and getting to see the world while they are at it! The challenge is to get their employees to go along with it.
There are other challenges too from a practical point of view, as is to be expected with any new concept. Things like Wi-Fi, workspaces, household amenities — they all have to be available and in place so that employees can still get their job done.
Big business in the USA is rolling out these kinds of workspaces in 12 different countries according to one report I read, and this means they see a great future in this. One has to wonder then, does this ‘work travel’ idea, as far-fetched as it may seem to some have real merit from the company’s point of view?
It’s all about the talent
From a recruiting point of view, many companies face a challenge securing the best talent and offering this option of global travel while you work one that is highly appealing to young candidates.
The second factor is that once you have acquired the right candidate, you need to try to retain them. Should you require that they have to stay with you for a certain period, this is a carrot that you can dangle with some confidence. Few will turn down this chance and will be likely to stay with you regardless of contracts.
Finally, mainly if your company is dealing internationally, what could be more beneficial than to have your own people on the ground there for direct liaison with your clients and for them to really get to know the culture of the country you are dealing with?
When one gets to thinking about it, the benefits are great. Providing excellent communication can be maintained, taking time differences into account, ‘work travel’ could be a win-win scenario all around.
The new decade will see many changes
‘Work travel’ is just one of the potentially significant changes we could see in 2020 and beyond. 2020 is quite substantial as it is not only the start of a new year but of a new decade. We may think this is not so significant until we consider the massive changes and advances that technology alone has played in just the last 10 years. It has almost turned the industry on its head!
One thing all TMCs must be cognisant of is that this kind of rapid advancement is enabling innovative ideas to flourish. We need just to see where the future is taking us and be the pioneers of whole new corporate travel experiences.
My next article will focus on just a few of the trends that are expected in 2020 and beyond and it’s really up to us to embrace the changes they will bring. As the great Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela once said: “One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” Will you be the individual that turns the travel industry on its head in the next decade? Good luck – I wish you well – Happy holidays and travel safely!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER