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Video conferencing instead of travel: companies are thinking differently – are business trips a thing of the past? | message


Business trips – an outdated model?

Before the corona pandemic, national and international business trips were just as much a part of everyday work for many employees as the daily lunch break. Then the virus came and travel of any kind became virtually impossible. The business trip was thus forced to be replaced by video conferences and group calls.

The restricted mobility has made many corporations realize that constant jet seating may no longer be in keeping with the times. Business trips not only cost a lot of time and money, they also worsen a company’s carbon footprint.

The circumstances caused by the virus have shown that today’s technologies make it possible to act globally without having to leave the home office. A spokeswoman for the Post commented on the situation to Handelsblatt as follows: “The pandemic acted as a catalyst here and gave virtual cooperation a further boost.”

Companies are rethinking

So it seems only a logical consequence that companies will increasingly forego business trips in the future. As a study by the Ifo Institute found, 57 percent of German companies plan to restrict business trips as much as possible in the long term.

Especially corporations of Pharmaceutical industry as well as business consultants and IT service providers are striving to travel significantly less even after the pandemic, as 80 percent of the companies in these sectors stated.

Wholesalers and retailers, however, want to restrict themselves less. Only 46 or 31 percent of the companies surveyed said that they would also reduce business trips in the future.

A comparable study by the Fraunhofer Institute came to a similar result. Of over 500 companies surveyed, 90 percent will at least think about whether or not business trips could be replaced by video conferences.

High savings potential

The change that has now possibly been heralded could significantly boost the German economy, as a study published in 2018 by the Institute of German Economy (IW) showed.
The savings potential is in the billions. German companies could save around 8.3 billion euros annually if business trips were replaced by video conferences.

As a spokesman for Rheinmetall told the Handelsblatt, the “enormous savings potential” acts as a motivation boost to use the now established technology more. Because the company was able to reduce travel costs to 20 percent of the previous level during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the business trip will never be 100 percent replaced by video conferences. “Personal contact remains important in the world of work even after the Corona crisis […]”, says Przemyslaw Brandt, specialist at the Ifo Institute, to WELT.

Henry Ely / editors

Image Sources: Black Salmon /

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