How and where we work are changing and – as we explore in a white paper produced with cultural analysis firm CULTIQUE – travel is inherently tied to that evolution.
Ongoing volatility within global travel networks combined with unprecedented labor market pressures stemming from The Great Resignation have left companies – big and small, hybrid, and remote – questioning their approach to people, work, and travel. The wellbeing and productivity concerns that have surfaced in recent years have created a universal demand for organizations, including those that never stopped traveling or commuting, to rethink how we work and why we meet.
In Why Business Travel Is the Center of the New Company Culture, we delve into how the corporate travel function can help businesses respond to emerging cultural, people, and organizational challenges to thrive in this era.
We also highlight some of the new cultural terminology surrounding work and travel that is emerging from this transformation – which we’re unpacking for you here.
Distributed workforce: The mainstreaming of remote and hybrid work structures has diminished in-office interactions, which previously dominated corporate culture. This shift toward a distributed workforce underscores the need to reconsider how to connect and move all employees – not just those historically associated with business travel.
Asynchronous work: Stemming from new distributed work patterns that spread employees across borders and time zones, asynchronous workflow policies leave work schedules and hours up to their employees’ discretion. Favoring written communication over meetings and real-time discussions to move company goals forward, asynchronous – like all remote schemes – is putting an emphasis on work boundaries and in-person meetups at key intervals.
Blended trips: Departing from the overused and outdated concept of “bleisure,” blended travel speaks to travelers’ desire to combine multiple trip functions to encompass work responsibilities, affinities, relationships, cultural explorations, rejuvenation, and beyond. Blended trips emphasize both professional and personal value exchanges.
Incentivized wellbeing: Serving as more than an opt-in perk or offering, incentivized wellbeing directly encourages steps and practices employees can take to improve their wellbeing. Expanding the definition of what falls under self-care, wellbeing spans all facets of life, including the health of one’s career, social life, finances, physical anatomy, and sense of community.
Employee autonomy: As distributed work instills a greater sense of and desire for options and flexibility, expectations surrounding business travel are changing. In sharp contrast to single-choice or fragmented compliance schemes and booking systems that leave travelers out of the process altogether, employee autonomy means giving workers more choice and control over trip decisions and itineraries.
Inclusive travel: In step with cultural conversations surrounding accessibility and diversity, inclusive travel is about designing experiences, business travel accommodation, and transport options for people of all backgrounds, demographics, and abilities. It means prioritizing safe spaces to enable individual growth to take place and trip goals to be met.
Regenerative travel: Taking the concept of low or no impact (associated with sustainable travel and ecotourism) to the next level, regenerative travel aims to create an additive value – leaving a place better than you found it in regard to the local community, economy, and physical environment.
Intentional travel: Like inclusive travel, intentional travel is travel driven by a purpose – whether that purpose be oriented toward personal/professional enrichment or to social/ecological good. Within the business world, the proliferation of virtual collaboration tools have made in-person business trips more optional and thus intentional – creating a deeper connection between planning work trips and achieving business priorities.
For analysis on how you can navigate all these changes, download the white paper.