Michael Trout - Dec 4, 2023
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Harvard Business Review and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) have recently published a new report titled "Business Growth: A Strategy for Success in Times of Change." In this report, which surveyed over 400 professionals, found that 70% of the respondents mentioned feeling disconnected from their companies due to mobile work models dominating their working hours.

Most respondents believe face-to-face meetings are crucial for internal purposes among employees, teammates, and newcomers, as they bring multiple benefits. These benefits include closer relationships between employees or teams (74%), better collaboration (60%), a more robust company culture (55%), higher employee retention (54%), and an increased sense of belonging for teams working remotely or at separate locations (46%). In today's hybrid world, travel is often required to facilitate these face-to-face interactions.

How Business Travel and Employee Engagement Are Linked

Remote work offers numerous advantages and is implemented by around 93% of respondents. However, it can create hurdles when building a corporate culture and retaining employees. Business travel can be a great solution to overcome these challenges. According to the professionals surveyed, personal meetings, external events, and workshops are important tools to improve collaboration. They found that in-person interactions are more effective than virtual meetings in several areas, including team building (79% vs. 19%), brainstorming (70% vs. 26%), interviews for important positions in the company (64% vs. 32%), and onboarding/training (58% vs. 31%).

Business Travel And Its Vital Role in Professional Development

According to the data, 60% of respondents believe that business travel plays a crucial role in the professional growth of a significant portion of their employees. Additionally, 51% of respondents agree that their management shares a similar view on employee professional development. Perhaps business travel is also seen as compensating for lost time. 40% of the respondents believe that the reduction in in-person meetings during the pandemic has hurt their company's professional development and training.

The Interaction Gap Among Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in reduced office hours and limited travel options, which caused several problems and challenges in the workplace, as per the respondents. More than half of the respondents (53%) reported that the company had experienced difficulty collaborating due to the reduced number of face-to-face meetings. 52% of the respondents experienced declining employee engagement, and 49% faced communication issues.

Although businesses have largely recovered from the effects of the pandemic, many companies have not yet resumed business travel to pre-pandemic levels for internal purposes. This indicates a possible lack of communication among employees. About 63% of respondents have reported a decrease in off-site professional meetings since the pandemic, and 56% have reported a reduction in on-site company meetings. However, industry experts anticipate that internal meetings will experience the most growth among all types of gatherings by 2024.

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