Up until a few months ago making a journey that was hundreds of kilometers long for one single meeting was not uncommon in our working world. Today it is also possible to handle almost every issue that is important for successful working via Zoom, Skype, or teams – as was already the case pre-corona.

“The high level of willingness and acceptance regarding mobile working has automatically resulted in companies calling the necessity of business travel at all levels into question, no matter whether to visit co-workers, customers, or service providers. The pandemic has functioned as a catalyst in this regard, further driving the trend to virtual cooperation,” explains Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.), CEO of Global DiVision. In most cases the changes have not impacted outcomes; even trips abroad have been replaced by virtual meetings.

The advantages are clear – reduced expenditure and, most importantly, saving time that can be used more efficiently than for waiting at airports or railroad stations. In addition to this, employees are available for meetings at shorter notice and, as an extra bonus, also contribute to protecting the environment.

Not every meeting can be held in a virtual space. It is important to assess this on a case-by-case basis and, where required, to implement a mix of real-world and virtual meetings. At the end of the day, making a long journey is a sign of respect for the individuals you are visiting. It seems, however, that corona has accelerated a fundamental change of attitude that views protecting the environment as being just as valid as travelling a long distance to demonstrate personal regard.

A current study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Organization found that just under 90 percent of the 500 German companies that were interviewed plan to at least consider business travel more critically in future.