What shape is business travel going to take in the post-pandemic world? “My prediction would be that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said back in November 2020, as quoted by CNBC.
Even if you dispute Gates’ specific figures, it would make sense for you to now think carefully about business travel before you embark on it. Here are five things you could do to help yourself ascertain when and whether you should meet up with a corporate contact online or in person.
Weigh up benefits of face-to-face interaction
Whenever an opportunity arises for you to interact with a contact, you should stop to ask yourself whether travelling would really be a worthwhile addition to the equation.
In a Harvard Business Review article, time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders acknowledges that clients of hers have benefitted from team retreats for crafting strategy as well as attending non-virtual conferences for networking.
Endeavor to strike just the right balance
You don’t have to feel forced between choosing just one option or the other. In fact, you could find that you get the best results from combining elements of both in-person and online meetings.
So, if your pre-pandemic habits included visiting clients in person every quarter, you could look at possibly making half of those meetings virtual from now on.
Nonetheless, if your relationship with certain clients has previously suffered as a result of the virtual approach, consider prioritising more face time for these particular people.
Don’t attempt to run before you can walk
Much like falling out of an exercise regime can lead you to struggle when you try eventually reprising it, you could have gone so long without business travel that you are now out of shape with it.
For example, jet lag and sleeping in hotels could be bigger problems than they used to be. So, maybe do just a fraction of the corporate trips you used to make — at least while you wait to get used to them again.
Cut the travel industry some slack
When you do travel, you could find that the industry supporting it is still trying to recover from the pandemic. For example, some airlines could be suffering staff shortages, while the microchip shortage could see you struggling to rent a car at the airport.
You should therefore make allowances for such disconcerting possibilities. For instance, you could book travel deals well in advance and make contingency plans for your transport needs.
Install some reliable webinar software
If you haven’t been too picky about which such software you have used in the past, you could be wondering: “What is a webinar?” However, during successive lockdowns, you might have held many webinars without quite realising what the technical term for them was.
Installing a webinar platform now, rather than in a more hurried fashion later, would help you to make sure that this software is capable of meeting all of your practical needs for virtual meetings.
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