For most people, the extended national lockdowns that followed the COVID-19 outbreak were incredibly restrictive. The average professional working a typical office job was pitched into working from home and staying indoors whenever possible, and deserted areas left it easy to wonder if the world’s population had come to a complete standstill.
For some people, though, the serious restrictions didn’t last very long. We’re talking about high-level executives, elite sportspeople, celebrities… In short, those with a lot of money and the capability to generate more through travel. Business travel had to keep going. There are countless companies around the world that rely on business travel, and countries around the world simply couldn’t practically halt all international activity.
And now that many restrictions have been lifted (or are in the process of being lifted), business travel will rise in commonality faster than leisure travel. While people are still worrying about COVID-19 or being particularly frugal, companies will gladly push ahead – but we surely can’t return to the old levels of business travel now that remote working has become so popular.
As we (hopefully) step out of the COVID-19 days, we need to come up with a new way of handling business travel. Here are three tips for improving it:
Ensure that trips are optimally economical
For environmental and financial reasons, it’s increasingly important to make business travel economical. This is of particular concern to fleet-based companies such as those involved in maintaining supply chains. Long trips should be trimmed as much as possible. That means having the perfect routes calculated, the right vehicles in use, and suitable drivers hired.
Furthermore, the drivers should be given what they need to drive economically. A utility such as a Texaco fuel card from iCompario will make it easier to get decent fuel rates, while clear guidance that takes traffic conditions into account will obviously help them locate their destinations with minimal fuss. The more economical business travel gets, the better.
Only book travel that’s truly justified
This is something that should have been done for decades, but it’s only now that we know how effective online communication can be that we’ve been made fully aware of how pointless so much business travel has always been. Companies have often splashed out on visits ostensibly to finalize deals but really just so the travelers can have a good time.
We can start now, though, by ensuring that we only book business travel that’s truly justified. In other words, is physical presence absolutely a necessity for a proposed trip? If it isn’t, then it should be dealt with virtually. It’s cheaper, it’s easier, and it’s better for the environment. It’s also more comfortable for the people involved. Business travel can be exhausting.
So what makes business travel necessary? We’ve already touched upon fleet-based companies, and their travel is obviously required because it transports goods, but a visit to a business conference can be deemed necessary if it’s likely to return major value. On the other hand, traveling to an event you likely won’t remember isn’t going to be a good use of time.
Give business travelers more freedom
During the pandemic, workers of many kinds have become used to working from home. They’ve come to enjoy setting their own schedules, starting and finishing work at times that make sense to them, and taking plenty of concentration breaks – and they’ll want to retain this autonomy whenever possible, which includes business trips.
This doesn’t apply to haulage drivers, of course, but people tasked with traveling to particular places for conferences or other events should be given the leeway to decide how they want to travel. Do they want to fly or drive? Which hotel do they want to stay at? Is there anything else productive they think they could do in the destination area? There are more stay-at-home roles now than ever before, so it will take more effort to make travel worth it.