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Business travel: is it still necessary?

travel

In Australia, few have been forgiving of the recent expense claims from our politicians for cross-country business trips.

Thanks to the rise of collaborative and telepresence technologies in Australia, there are now alternative options for our business travelers to get work done without having to justify the cost and time incurred of travel.

Work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do and business travel presents a possible spending black hole for organisations that don’t prioritise appropriately. Recently released figures reveal corporate travel in Australia was the most expensive in the world – with SMBs, on average, filing expense transactions almost 20 per cent more frequently than large organisations and spending up to 25 per cent more while on the road.*

With the costs of an inter-state business trip becoming harder to justify to large company shareholders, huge pressure is placed on executives to provide ROI on business travel expenses while also remaining accountable for their productivity when not stapled to a desk. SMB owners are also under increased pressure to cut costs while improving productivity, but could they have a better balance sheet with a change in strategy?

The mobile workforce is here, with employees working across multiple devices, time zones and distances. So frenzied is the adoption of mobile work styles that by 2030, approximately 40 per cent of Australia’s workforce will be working independently and across national borders**.

This means that all Australian businesses, small or large, need to come to grips with more effective ways of working, including ways to reduce travel to help boost productivity and the bottom line.

Before the proliferation of social collaboration workspaces, secure mobile file-sharing applications, video conferencing tools and remote access solutions, business executives relied on having an international or interstate presence to do ongoing business. In the past, the only way to achieve this was through expensive and frequent flights overseas or interstate including costly meals, taxis and unproductive travel time.

However, the image of productivity in today’s world is one of staff and clients connecting without the need for business travel, a choice many organisations are already considering in the place of a business class flight. Many organisations PageUp People, a leading Australian talent management organisation, have already saved thousands of dollar spend per year by implementing intelligent videoconferencing technology solutions in place of business travel.

While holding meetings via video conferencing applications is not going to replace the need for face to face meetings and business travel altogether, it does open many more doors for facilitating business conversation when other channels are either not possible or not efficient.

The key to mobile working is identifying which location is the most productive environment for working or holding meetings as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. The crucial consideration for businesses today is choosing the tools and processes that are needed to enable employees to collaborate and work together from wherever the business requires them to be; be it the office, the home or whilst travelling.

* 2013 Concur Expense IQ report 

**How Work Will Work in 2030 report – prepared by Citrix with contributions from Australian industry experts

About the Author

Lindsay Brown is the Regional Director, APAC Citrix SaaS


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