The “Remote Revolution” is in full swing. In 2019, 66% of companies currently allow remote work and 16% have gone fully remote, according to Owl Labs. Not only that, a recent International Workplace Group report shows that over half of employees work outside of their main office headquarters at least twice a week. By 2020, Intuit predicts “the gig economy” (or a free market system where temporary or contracted positions outside of a traditional office are common) will make up a shocking 43% of the workforce. These statistics are global, not just in the US, and represent a monumental shift in the workforce today - business is moving out of the 9-to-5 office paradigm - and into the world.
As travel becomes easier and more affordable than ever, technology more powerful, and processes more automated, pretty much any line of work traditionally produced in an office is now portable. Which means employees are out of the office and on-the-go more than ever before, making business travel more essential than ever before.
Remote work no longer looks like sitting on your couch while snuggling your dog and half-heartedly checking your Slack. Today, work flexibility looks like jet-setting across the world to meet with clients, team-members, and stakeholders face-to-face, while checking out local coffee shops, coworking spaces and world-class restaurants in-between meetings.
More and more employees than ever are mixing business travel with leisure travel, and view business trips as an opportunity to see the world.
In fact, the desire to integrate leisure with business travel was prominent in a June 2018 report from the GBTA Foundation and Hilton, which found that a staggering 89% of business travelers were at least moderately likely to extend a work trip for leisure. And, according to TripActions’ own survey results, the #1 reason for wanting to travel for work is to have the opportunity to check out a new city.
TripActions business traveler survey also uncovered that employees who have the opportunity to travel for work report feeling more empowered, engaged, and energized in their jobs. Not only that, but 75 percent of today’s young workforce aged 23 to 35 see business travel as a major work perk, and 65 percent consider it a status symbol, according to a Forbes 2018 survey.
Numerous studies have shown that remote workers tend to get more done than their in-office counterparts. Even among those who only work remote part of the time, a study by Connect Solutions showed that a whopping two-thirds of employees are more productive when they work remotely. Other studies like a U.S. News & World Report confirm this finding, and add the detail that remote workers on average put in 6-7 more hours per week than on-site employees.
With the entrance of Millennials and Generation Z to the labor market, more and more businesses are attracting top talent with flexible workplace and travel benefits (both business and personal). While the employees benefit from an enhanced work/life balance, the companies also greatly benefit from the remote work and freelancing trend - saving big on resources in terms of benefits, office space and training, to name a few.
The ability to work from anywhere is also keeping employees happy, and consequently more productive. A recent Deloitte Millennial Survey found 82 percent of Millennials express a positive impact on overall wellbeing, health and happiness, and an 81 percent impact on their productivity, when their employer fosters an environment of flexibility and the ability to work remote. Eighty percent also reported that organizations that allow for highly flexible work arrangements have a very positive impact on their overall work-life balance.
But how do you keep an increasingly remote workforce feeling like part of the team, and connecting with clients, customers, and prospects on a personal level across the globe?
The importance of face-to-face connections is the very reason business travel exists. When team members are working from their homes and in different locations, they're missing out on connecting with each other and the company as a whole. When business travel empowers them to meet face-to-face and build in-person connections with clients, prospects, customers, and colleagues in person, that’s when the needle really gets moved.
In fact, the TripActions 2018 business traveler survey found that nearly everyone who responded said they believe in the power of face-to-face meetings, with 90% reporting that business travel is critical in driving company growth.
Working remote isn’t about replacing face-to-face meetings, it’s about empowering them. Being allowed to be more flexible with where they work, employees are better able to forge new connections and business opportunities all over the world. And by giving employees the tools to make their business travels easier, and more effective, businesses will boost productivity, creativity, team-building, and innovation.
TripActions believes that being there in-person is a powerful thing. They like to point out that their happy travelers = happy customers = happy companies.
Guest blog by travel influencer Christina Vidal, also known as @JetsetChristina. She is one of the leading travel bloggers in the world and has been ranked #1 on Travel & Leisure's Top Luxury Travel Instagrams to Follow. She has been to 61 countries and counting and understands the importance of seamless business travel, since she is traveling 24/7/365 for her business.