Several factors are affecting company travel plans this year.
Energy costs. Because of high fuel prices, airline tickets cost more. Also add the cost of lost time, the hassles of going through airport security lines and late arrivals.
All of these situations are making air travel a less attractive choice. The days of flying cross country for a one-hour meeting are disappearing. Increasingly, virtual meetings are replacing travel. Researchers for Hewlett Packard and Cisco Systems, who studied body reactions, say that co-workers in different states and countries experience the same chemical responses to virtual meetings as to face-to-face meetings.
Travel by car for distances of 200 miles is less of a hassle than flying. But it takes more time than conference calls. And it costs more, 58.5 cents a mile.
It’s not just time and money. The frequent-flyer lifestyle can wreak havoc on a person’s health and family life. People who are involved in virtual meetings seem to be pleased with the reduction of air travel.
Here are some web-based options for webinars and online meetings:
Consulting firm BDO Seidman, quoted in Business Week, says it’s not just about travel reduction, it’s also about increasing communication. They say meeting more frequently and in short bursts of time is more productive than flying off to long meetings.
Most companies are considering the green factor in all of their decisions. Flying and driving less will reduce a company’s carbon footprint.