Many of us have found comfort in the current work-from-anywhere (WFA) mentality that spun out of the pandemic. A remote way of working provides flexibility, letting us meet through a virtual platform at any given moment. Plus, it gives the opportunity to balance work with family time and personal needs. While WFA certainly has its merits, it also has limitations. It can’t replace the human bond created by meeting in person. There’s still a need for both face-to-face and virtual meetings.

Today’s remote workforce

Despite the independence and flexibility of WFA, many remote employees are missing out on the human aspects of work, according to a McKinsey article that delves into the reasons behind the great attrition rate that made headlines in recent past. One way to solve for that is through in-person meetings, which foster better connections and help bring about a sense of inclusion.

An inclusive environment where people of all cultural orientations meet face-to-face to share their diverse perspectives can make colleagues feel valued and appreciated, build trust and understanding. Seems obvious on the surface, right? Yet many people didn’t experience an inclusive society to draw from when growing up. In an article about workplace inclusion, it was revealed that:

  • The first time many white Americans have any meaningful interactions with people who are different from them is in the workplace.
  • 91% of the average white person’s social network is white.

A balanced work model

We’ve been seeing the value of gathering employees into our Manhattan office on a regular, less frequent basis and we’ve noticed a buzz in the industry to support our view.

As an example, the UK hotelier Accor offers a “Commute and Stay” package that caters to the occasional commuter. The package provides guests with a discounted, flexible cancellation rate and allows for a two-day office visit and a venue to spend the evening with clients, colleagues, or friends.

And a New York Times article cited several hotels from New York to Ottawa that offer rates and amenities to accommodate the new long-distance commuter.

Clearly, business travel and meetings are evolving. In a Skift article, Linda McNairy, vice president, American Express Meetings & Events, Americas, noted that companies have been asking us recently to run team-building events at offsite facilities like ranches ­– a far cry from the traditional conference table with an audiovisual system.

Moving on to the next phase in business travel

Going forward, it’s likely that many companies will want to renew ties with partners, colleagues, and clients. Out of sight − which we’ve all experienced over the last few years − doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind. Businesses have a lot to gain by expanding on a balanced work model that combines remote working with travel and in-person meetings. For budget planning, that means:

  • Engaging in team travel for group gatherings that involve live or hybrid meeting platforms.
  • Budgeting for travel involving overnight trips as well as longer stays.
  • Considering the needs of colleagues who now live farther distances from the corporate office.

Technological know-how

Pulling off a virtual or hybrid meeting, whether it be for your colleagues or partners, can be challenging if you lack the resources and technological skill. When you also factor in the evolving nature of technology, you’ll see why it makes sense to source software providers. There are some considerations to keep in mind when sourcing:

  • Vendor diversity and environmental sustainability.
  • Cybersecurity standards for the safeguarding of data.
  • The capabilities to maintain attendee engagement.

Best practice: one company to manage it all

In the end, it works out better to have all your business travel and meeting needs managed through one management partner. One strategic partner considers your business needs at a holistic level, which serves the best interests of your entire company, not just specific areas of your business. Many companies have chosen us to manage all their travel, meetings, and events because of our strong supplier partnerships and flexible suite of services that promote:

Greater efficiency: Integrating travel and meetings data helps achieve buying success with suppliers and strengthens your company’s ability to meet duty of care needs.

Increased savings: Looking back on 2020, we found that our clients have the potential to save from 9% to 17% on average by managing travel and meetings through us.

Responsible resources: Vendor diversity and environmental sustainability are built into our sourcing decisions.

That’s just a mere glimpse of the overall advantages of unifying travel and meetings through American Express Global Business Travel. Feel free to contact us to get the bigger picture.