The future of business travel
The last several years have transformed our relationship to work. Of course, the workday itself has transformed, but so has our proximity to and definitions for the “office.”
So, what does business travel and commuting look like nowadays? And how will it continue to evolve in the near future?
Whichever path your business takes, one thing is certain: The future of business travel and commute is going to look very different than it did just a short time ago.
We wanted to understand how shifting future-of-work strategies impact business travel and commute needs. To do so, we commissioned Forrester Consulting for a study of 205 HR and Operations leaders at enterprise organizations across a number of industries, including telecom, media, financial services, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, retail, and advertising.
Let’s look at the high-level insights and recommendations from the 2022 study “Navigating the Evolving Workplace Strategy Landscape.”
Here are the key takeaways
Business travel and commuting will increase
More and more businesses are transitioning to flexible working environments where employees work remotely and come into the office occasionally. Forrester predicts that 60% of companies will adopt an office+anywhere hybrid work environment featuring more remote work and less direct presence.
Other research from Deloitte has noted that spending on work travel in general—like flights to sales meetings or conferences—will increase to 55% of 2019 levels by the end of the year. More organizations predict an increase in commuting over the next two years than an increase in business travel.
According to our research, over the next two years, 52% of our survey respondents expect an increase in business travel needs, and 67% expect an increase in commuter needs.
Organizations will therefore increasingly need flexible, easy-to-manage travel options as their people seek alternative work arrangements and schedules.
Companies benefit from optimizing travel strategies
The pandemic’s lingering and rippling effects have given rise to an enhanced focus on employee experience (EX). The mandate for many CHROs and even some CEOs is to improve the workdays of employees all over the world, whether working at home, in an office, or somewhere in between.
Leaders in our survey said that outdated commuting and business travel policies would lead to concern over travel safety and poorer employee collaboration, and would add stress to managing business travel.
Every respondent (100%) expected to see benefits from optimizing their business travel and commuting strategies, including improved employee satisfaction, improved customer retention, and improved employee productivity.
Maintaining company culture as hybrid gains ground
The debate between fully remote and fully in-person workplaces continues in full swing with no signs of slowing down. Work leaders wrestle with the pros and cons of each, with many preferring a mix of the two with hybrid environments.
According to our research, most (87%) organizations plan to have some in-office presence: The majority are hybrid or flex, but there are about twice as many organizations planning to be fully in-office as fully remote.
Now that hybrid workplaces are more mainstream, organizations are looking for ways to encourage and facilitate in-person collaboration. 70% agreed that finding ways to add value to the in-office experience is a must.
These insights lead us to believe that leaders will only face greater urgency to fit their travel and commute policies to employee needs over the next few years.
Download the study to get the details and recommendations for building best-practice workplace strategies in this evolving landscape.