As video conferencing tools become the norm in business operations, business travel becomes increasingly irrelevant.
This notion is supported by Google recently informing workers that it is advising managers to only approve “business critical” trips according to an internal memo.
The memo states that social functions, full-team offsite trips and any other gatherings that have a virtual option should not be approved by managers.
“We recently shared guidance about taking a responsible approach on expense management, including travel and events,” the company said in a statement. “Different product areas and functions are implementing this in a way that works best for their teams, given their business needs.”
While this may not be a long-lasting trend, it’s clear that the move comes as a precaution, particularly as companies brace for a potential recession. However, much business travel comes in the form of team-building gatherings or educational conferences, both of which are necessary when nurturing company culture.
It also contradicts the company’s desire for employees to come into the office throughout the week. If collaboration is so highly valued, why cut out trips based on camaraderie rather than daily commutes?
“If you want to succeed as a company, you want to strengthen your culture, you want to motivate people, you want to recognize and reward people, you want to drive innovation and creativity, you’ve got to bring people together,” said Paul Abbott, CEO of American Express Global Business Travel.