Cultural Exchange: Leveraging Business Trips to Enhance Workplace Dynamics

Business trips present organisations with many advantages. It’s the opportunity for the business to meet various objectives including partnerships, sales, service, project work, and event participation.  But, that’s now all that it offers – especially not today.

Corporate travel is not just a business necessity today – it’s a perk that many employees will perceive as a bonus – one that can positively enhance the workplace dynamics.

So, while you should primarily book those business trips to do business, you should keep in mind that this is important for the employee and the overall health of the workplace, too.

Corporate travel needs to be managed properly. How you manage business travel and what you offer to your team can determine the perks you reap from this. Now that business travel is bigger than ever, there’s no time to waste. Back in 2021, business travel accounted for almost 20% of global travel expenditure.

Not only is this a lot, but the expenditure was estimated to grow with a CAGR of 3% between 2020 and 2027, setting corporate travel at $829.5 billion in spending in only a few years from now.

This post will teach you a lot. It will teach you why business trips are a good idea and what perks you can reap from it. But more importantly, it will teach you how to leverage business trips to enhance workplace dynamics.

How to manage business trips with success

Business trips can bring your organization and employees many benefits, but only if it’s managed and organized properly. Everything starts with a strong travel culture.

When it comes to creating a business travel program, there are several steps you can take.

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Using the right travel management company

Now, this is a highly important step. If you want to make business travel simple for the company and the employees, avoid mistakes, and avoid going over budget, you need a proper travel management company. TravelPerk’s list of best travel management companies (TMCs) will give you all the information you need to choose the best software for your business.

What can a TMC do for you?

Depending on the software’s features, you can use the platform to:

  • Make bookings at any time at affordable rates;
  • Ensure that everyone complies with the travel budget restrictions;
  • Get real-time reports on travel itineraries, plans, and spending;
  • Offer your team 24/7 support in case of questions or problems;
  • Automate employees’ bookings with travel policy integration.

A detailed travel policy with guidelines

If you want to foster a positive travel culture in the organisation, you need rules and guidelines. In other words, you need a corporate travel policy.

At the very least, the travel policy should outline clear rules in terms of booking, budgeting, and travel schedules. To complement this, it should include clear guidelines and rules for your company’s corporate travel.

Communication, transparency, and flexibility

If you want a successful corporate travel program, you need full transparency and good organisation. Your employees must feel comfortable with the schedule, so you should value their input when creating this plan. Conducting employee surveys at different phases is important because it will tell you what the employee needs from your travel plan, how satisfied they are with it, and what you need to improve.

Business travel can be tricky because people would have to spend hours on a trip, possibly days or weeks. Employees may also face changes in their travel schedules, such as flight delays, problems with accommodation, changes in meeting schedules, and more.

This is why your travel program must be flexible. When there’s flexibility and open communication, employees can easily modify their travel schedules and itineraries.

Employee safety

Did you know that 63% of business travelers will change an arrangement because they don’t feel safe enough? Chances are, your employees will have to travel to international destinations and places where they might not feel very safe.

Travel is a stressful affair on its own. Unexpected events occur all the time, such as bad weather or flight delays. Crime is present all around the world, more so in selected destinations.

It is your job as the company to ensure that your corporate travellers are safe. What can you do?

For starters, you need to ensure that your team can reach out for help if they feel like they are not safe – and have a safe solution on hand at all times. Among the items to consider are accommodation, safe methods of transport, etc.

Thankfully, TMCs have safety features like safe hotel tagging, as well as travel support that works around the clock. This should make your employees feel much safer while on the business trip.

Work-life balance

Traveling for business can be emotionally and physically draining. The travellers have to spend time away from their homes, in an entirely different – and possibly new place.

When you need to juggle work, travel, and personal time, this can be detrimental to your work-life balance. This is why your corporate travel plans and policies need to offer a great deal of flexibility to help employees balance their work and personal lives.

Recognition and rewards

Another key method to optimize corporate travel is through recognition and rewards. Interestingly enough, travel is considered one of the top rewards these days. You can use this in your reward system to promote good work and recognize your top performers.

However, if your employee travels often, this can be inconvenient and tiring. You’ll need to take extra measures to boost employee morale. You can do this by offering the right incentives, such as gifts, days off after a lengthy business trip, extra paid vacation days, a boost in their salary, etc.

Travel wellness

When you’re on the road – or in the air all the time, it’s hard to take care of your body and brain. People who travel have a lot on their plates. They juggle between meetings and spend most of their time in the car, on the plane, or seated. Even if they don’t forget about proper nutrition or exercise, they might not have time in their schedule – or ways to get this.

If you want your employees to perform at their best while on the business trip, and be happy with the work, you need to provide them with travel wellness support. Basically, set time in their schedule for exercise – and provide them with options they can use. You can give them a subscription to a wellness application for meditation or other exercise, or book them a room in a hotel with a fitness center.

Remember – if your employee is exhausted during the trip, they won’t perform well when they return, too.

Leveraging business trips: the benefits to the workplace

The majority of companies send out employees on business trips with a straightforward goal – to help the business grow. They send them to meetings to make deals with clients and partners, send them on training to boost the company’s performance, and do this to build networking for the company.

Nowadays, it’s important to view business travel in another light – a way to benefit the workplace and the company’s culture, as well as attract and retain the best talent.

Provided that you create a strong travel policy and manage business trips effectively, here are some of the benefits your company – and its employees can reap.

Breaking barriers

When you send an employee on a business trip, they get a change of scenery. Instead of their daily routine of coming into the office and working, they can explore new places, try something new, and most importantly – they can interact in a different setting.

Employees in the office are limited to communication during breaks, and often surrounded with other team members, as well as upper management. They don’t have the freedom – or the environment to communicate more openly.

The change encourages employees to engage in more meaningful conversations with their co-workers. It’s a great way to break communication barriers between team members.

Some of the strongest bonds among team members are formed during business trips. The experiences form a sense of camaraderie and give them more opportunities to build stronger professional, as well as friendly relationships.

Those same employees will return to the office with broken barriers, which will eventually promote a high-performance culture.

Fostering creativity and teamwork

Provided that the team travels together on the corporate trip, this will allow them to collaborate. Even if they don’t engage in team activities or work on shared projects, they’ll be in a different setting, working on different projects and meeting new people.

All this cultivates creativity and strengthens the employee’s skills.

If the team travels together, especially for training or group projects abroad, they’ll participate in team activities, which can boost their teamwork, too.

These experiences translate into better teamwork, more creative individuals, and more effective collaboration when they get back to the office.

Improving communication

If your team bonds during business trips or learns how to work with others better, this will help communication within the organisation. Business trips often include activities such as games, physical or adventure sessions, and reflective sessions.

All of this will contribute to the health of the communication in the company.

Stress relief

Business travel can be exhausting, but it can also be a great stress relief. If it’s organised properly and the employee likes to travel for business, this can be one of the best ways to reduce their stress.

Basically, people are going away from their daily troubles and the monotony of working at the office. They might not exactly escape the workload if they travel for business, but the change in setting can be a great stress buster.

Even a short corporate trip can help the person become less stressed. If you add some activities and travel wellness in the package, this will surely reduce their stress.

Boosting morale

Corporate travel is a great perk. It’s a tool that companies use to recognize their employee’s achievements and efforts. In many companies, employees are rewarded with travel opportunities.

When you work hard and are sent on a business trip as a reward, this makes you feel more appreciated. In return, the employee is more motivated to contribute to the success of the company, and their morale is much higher.

When the employee gets back to the workplace, they are motivated to keep excelling in their role because the reward is great, and they can get a new trip if they perform well.

Promoting inclusivity and cultural understanding

Business trips mean that your employees will visit different locations and meet people with different cultural backgrounds. It’s the perfect cultural exchange – an opportunity for the employees to work inclusively and meet people with different cultural habits and beliefs.

If you aim to make the workplace more inclusive and build a stronger culture where people understand each other and respect different cultures, business travel is a perfect way to achieve this.

Simply put, you are exposing the employees to different behaviors, beliefs, and traditions. This can lead to a more cohesive work environment in your company.

In Summary

Most companies view business trips as a way to do business. They are not wrong to do so, but these trips can be much more than that. Business travel is one of the preferred perks for employees nowadays, and it’s a great way to attract and retain the best talent in the industry.

Trips are a way to show employees that you appreciate them, a way to motivate them, and recognise their talents. It’s a stress buster, a way to boost communication and morale and make people more open to other cultures and beliefs.

Of course, if you want to reap all these benefits and more, you need carefully executed business trips. It all depends on the organisation, so what can you do to improve it in your company?

About the Author

Nadica Metuleva is a senior content writer with expertise in crafting blog posts, listicles, articles, and case studies. She has spent over 8 years as a freelance writer, following her passion for storytelling and research. She has a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Teaching and speaks 4 languages. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Team 6Q

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