The future of work has rapidly evolved with teams now dispersed, hybrid, remote, and fluid – and with it comes tremendous opportunities to look at the role of modern businesses in an entirely fresh and holistic light. Amid these changes, business travel has emerged as an exciting differentiator in how companies function by creating opportunities for entire teams to reconnect. Travel and meetings, under one umbrella, play a critical role in a company’s culture with the ability to bond a distributed workforce.
Recently, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) and cultural analysis firm CULTIQUE surveyed nearly 3,000 employees who travel for work and more than 2,000 employers with travel programs. These two groups identified changes that could improve their overall business travel experience, resulting in a travel policy positioned to create a better workplace and more satisfied employees.
To help our clients navigate the modern benefits of business travel and to provide the most value to today’s workforce, here are seven guiding strategies, ranked in order of popularity and acceptance among companies surveyed, to help you embrace and embed them within your own organization.
7 Travel Policy Strategies Driving Change
- Minimize your company’s carbon footprint and aviation emissions by taking fewer but longer business trips.
- Prioritize personal well-being by providing spa services, meditation app subscriptions, noise-canceling headphones, and other creative ways your employees can refresh and recharge while traveling.
- Extend a monetary allowance for your traveling employees so they can add personal travel to an existing business trip – doing so creates an opportunity to facilitate work-life balance.
- Provide your employees with the ability to add personal travel to an existing business trip that also allows for extended stays so family members and/or significant others can join.
- Turn trip planning into a positive experience for your travelers by providing them with the ability to choose from their preferred travel suppliers for booking air, hotel, and ground transport – extending to rental cars, black cars, taxis, and rail.
- Focus on diversity and working with minority-owned and -operated travel partners to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts top of mind.
- Create a closed, internal channel where your coworkers can share helpful business travel tips. Doing so will create a sense of community where employees can gain knowledge while at the same time fostering connection and collaboration.
It’s important to note that the seven strategies employees rated the highest (strategies 2, 3, and 4) create a larger halo effect, resulting in a high level of workplace positivity. When companies make work-life balance a priority and include blended personal and work time with relaxation opportunities, an affinity for the workplace rises, and employees feel like their company cares about them. And as adoption of these strategies increase and they become part of the fabric of the company, the organization becomes more competitive.
From our recent survey, we learned that current adoption among employers is in the 30-40% range, but this number jumps to more than 60% when including employers actively working towards implementing these strategies. Even more exciting is the fact that there is alignment among both employees and employers on the benefits of these shifts, making the importance of connecting and gathering in person crystal clear.1
It’s important to note that the smaller organizations have been the quickest to implement these strategies due to their ability to remain nimble, agile players. They can pivot quickly and implement their plan of action with ease, stealing a march on larger organizations.
The benefits of business travel lead the way
Business travel is poised to facilitate positive change that can make your company more attractive to prospective talent and more rewarding for your employees. By reimagining your travel policy today, you can position your organization to deliver not only a good travel experience but a good work experience centered on opportunities to bring well-being, balance, and individual choice to the forefront for your employees.
Wondering how to take the next step? A travel management company can help you get the ball rolling by developing an action plan so that you can begin implementing these policies poised to make a difference in your organization.
Reach out to Amex GBT today to get this timely conversation started.
1 The Future of Work, CULTIQUE and The Quorum, October 2022.