Why aren’t business trips a thing of the past? We were all promised home-based working in our pyjamas with the advent of social media and video conferencing on our cell phones. No more early commutes, no long flights to the London office and no more annoying colleagues sitting next to us.
It hasn’t happened. It probably won’t. We are stuck with the fact humans work better face to face and in person. There is no getting out of it. The shirts still need to be ironed and the earplugs to drown out mouth-breather in the next cubicle are still required.
But some things have improved. Connectivity has reached the point where we could work in our pyjamas at home, or anywhere for that matter. We don’t need to rely on hotel offices for faxes, phones and internet anymore. The web is with us on our personal cell phones. If the boss needs proof you have got out of bed today, he can video call you. This means accommodation requirements for business trips have been stripped right back.
Saving money is high on anyone’s list of priorities. It is especially important for businesses who have their employees livelihoods on the line. Flights are almost always cattle class rather than business class for the majority of us. We have to do our own driving in a hire car instead of getting a cab, and allowable expenses are now clarified in black and white. Some businesses are expecting employees on prolonged deployments to self-cater now. This means they have to find an apartment to rent while they are there. Finding hotels or even Holidays apartments in London is not going to be difficult to do because it is a tourist location. However, a lot of our overseas offices are not in tourist locations anymore. This means finding a nearby hotel is tricky. Finding an apartment could be easier.
Many businesses are picking countryside locations for offices now to cut costs, and perhaps suit the boss’s lifestyle! Renting a property in the city is substantially more expensive to do than taking on a building somewhere rural. Companies who choose the rural option realise that visiting these offices presents a challenge for accomodation choices. They often invest in a couple of apartments in a nearby town or village for business use, or form good relationships with members of the community to rent out their properties.
If your business is considering about this, there are some things you need to think about. Emergency planning is crucial. Where is the power coming from and do you have a back up? Is fibre broadband and a good cell signal available to keep in communication at all times? Are the roads in and out easy to access in poor weather? There are lots of questions to ask, but the benefits in terms of cost cutting can be enormous. Business travel may not be a thing of the past yet, but if the places we are travelling to can be in a beautiful countryside location, maybe it will be worth the journey after all.
Featured image credit: Businessmen in Airport/ShutterStock