Some 41 per cent of companies expect to make fewer business trips
after the Covid pandemic is over, according to a new survey commissioned by the
UK government. The survey found that 30 per cent of companies expected no change while 27 per cent expected
their employees to be making more business trips compared to before.
The survey was commissioned by the UK government to study the impact of the Covid pandemic on the demand for non-commuting domestic business trips. Market
research firm Ipsos Mori conducted the survey online with 465 decision makers for
domestic business trips in January 2021. The results were weighted to be
representative of the overall population of UK businesses in terms of business
size and sector.
Virtual meetings look set to replace such domestic travel, the survey
The researchers found that 93 per cent of respondents had replaced
domestic business trips with virtual meetings during the pandemic with 44 per
cent saying they had replaced all trips.
Half of companies believe that virtual meetings are an adequate
replacement for face-to-face meetings. Some 28 per cent disagree while 23 per
cent neither agree nor disagree.
The study also found that hybrid meetings, with both virtual and
face to face attendees, are considered even more suitable than virtual meetings
alone, with 57 per cent of companies agreeing they are a good replacement for
pure face-to-face meetings.
Drilling down into the detail, the survey found differences
between the amounts of domestic business travel carried out during the pandemic
by companies in different parts of the UK and in different sectors as well as expectations of levels of travel when Covid is over, as shown in
the charts below.
The survey also revealed a huge shift towards car use for domestic
business trips during the pandemic. Before Covid hit, 29 per cent of employees
used a car as their primary mode of transport for domestic business trips compared
with 15 per cent for long distance train and 14 per cent for air travel. After
the pandemic hit, some 43 per cent of employees used their car as their main mode
of transport during Covid, with long-distance rail and air falling to 8 per