How many (business) trips are still necessary today?
Contemporary approaches to travel (guideline) design
The online world can replace approaches where people would have previously met in person. However, not all aspects of business can be conducted online.
In the recent past, therefore, a rather individual approach has emerged. Organisational developers would also describe this approach as spontaneous, uncontrolled, and not optimised. The future of work is shifting between practices such as Work From Home, Work From Anywhere and mobile working plus business travel.
But how do you find the right balance here?
Pursuing one’s agenda through company travel will lead to conflicts. Specific locations are often preferred. Of course, coincidentally, these are the locations on lovely islands, Majorca or in Berlin — depending on personal preference. Collecting miles through air travel, including short-haul domestic flights, an Instagram story from the business lounge with a Senator status card appears daily on social media. The most crucial factor for a business trip is its necessity, taking into account the most efficient and effective means of travel.
The executives’ travel ego show has to end. If this is not done, you will have no arguments against employees who demand other benefits for themselves.
In addition to number-driven aspects, such as the carbon footprint factor and other sustainability aspects, social aspects must also be considered — a simple example. I travel in Europe almost exclusively by train (for some time now, I have continuously published the current travel balance on Sundays on all social media channels). Purely driven by numbers, you quickly end up with the train as the preferred option. When I finish my seminars, workshops or keynotes and travel, I don’t mind arriving in Zurich or London at 10 PM, 11 PM or midnight. Being single by choice, I have all the freedom and can handle this flexibly. For people with families, the flight and an arrival at 7 or 8 PM is the difference between a conversation in the partnership or no conversation, seeing the children and bringing them to bed or not, finding out what is happening in the family or going to sleep alone, in silence. Social aspects have a direct impact on your employees. Pay attention to these aspects.
Online vs On-Site
The online world offers countless options for flexible, spontaneous and quick meetings. However, some of them, especially very confidential aspects, will not be communicated through this channel. The spatial effect, the immediacy of the counterpart in direct response, the three-dimensional and complete perception of gestures, facial expressions and body language play a role here. Besides that, not everyone has grown up with digital media. Consider personal preferences as well as strengths and weaknesses.
It is a complex project if you want to draft a travel policy for the time to come or make recommendations on business travel. One aspect, however, can be stated with maximal clarity: using the pre-pandemic documents, guidelines, and policies does not work. Genuine innovation is needed to ensure that future travel decisions are sustainable for business, stakeholders and the environment.
More on business travel in the post-pandemic era
in this week’s podcast: click here to listen and learn.
Do you care about modern approaches to transport, travel and business?
Let’s talk: NB@NB-Networks.com.