(Photo: Business Travel in the Age of Covid-19)
Over the past year, the world has seen a lot of changes due to the coronavirus. One of the biggest industries hit has been the travel industry. Travel was restricted in practically every country, impacting both personal and business travel. However, as the Covid-19 situation continues to improve, travel has also started to increase. More people are beginning to travel again, albeit with some changes. This is especially true in business travel, as businesses have had to make some major changes in order to continue operating.
To stay safe, it's essential that you know the way businesses and the travel industry have changed, along with what you can do to keep yourself safe.
New Business Policies
The past year saw some major changes in the ways businesses handle communication and travel. On the local level, most offices shut down and businesses began operating with their employees working from home. Daily meetings were held over video conference rather than in-person. More broadly speaking, travel was impacted on practically every level.
For example, rather than meeting with clients for dinner or at their office, these meetings have been conducted via video chat or over the phone. For a long time business travel across the country or to other countries was completely halted, and has only recently started back up again.
Businesses needed to work with their corporate travel booking partners to ensure all travel accommodations were safe for their employees. This included boarding safe flights, booking additional rooms at hotels, and making last-minute changes as government policies shifted.
The result of these changes will likely last well beyond the disappearance of the coronavirus. Many businesses have now seen the advantages of working remotely and may continue to significantly cut back on the amount of travel required of their employees.
How Travel Industries Have Adapted
Businesses were not the only ones that needed to adapt how they traveled during this time. The travel industry itself had to make some significant changes in order to continue to serve its customers safely. For example, many airlines are currently operating at reduced capacity to ensure there is enough space between passengers. Travel rates are also significantly reduced, as the entire travel industry is working to entice customers to travel again.
Keeping Yourself Safe
If you need to travel for business during this time, it's not entirely up to your employer to keep you safe. You must also do some things to keep yourself safe. For example, you should continue to wear a mask whenever you go out in public. This includes places like airports, public transportation, and cabs. Whenever possible, you should also maintain a 6-foot distance between you and everyone else.
When you do travel, you should investigate your state's quarantine rules. For instance, you may be required to shelter in place for a number of days upon your return from your trip. You should also look up the restrictions of the state or country you are traveling into. There may be travel restrictions in place, or you may need to quarantine upon your arrival, both of which you will want to know when arranging your travel.
Finally, you should modify your business travel plans wherever possible to conform to the best coronavirus prevention strategies. For example, if you can meet with your clients somewhere outdoors, this would be preferred over having a meeting indoors. It's also a good idea to remind all parties involved to adhere to these same principles so that everyone is on the same page when the time for the meeting arrives.
Your best course of action is to limit all business travel at this time, but that isn't always feasible. The best alternative is to take as many precautions as you can, both while traveling to and from your destination and at the destination. If you and everyone involved can take the proper precautions, you can significantly reduce your chances of catching the virus and transmitting it to anyone else.
The Future of Business Travel
There may come a time when business travel is only a fraction of what it once was. With the rise of tools like online video conferencing, the need for in-person meetings has already dropped. It's not only cheaper to use these tools, but easier as well.
However, this time hasn't fully arrived yet, so many will continue to travel for both business and pleasure. The coronavirus has significantly impacted the way we do this and will likely continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future.
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