Thriving organisations: reframing business travel and mobility

Business travel and global mobility are at a watershed moment. Remote working and distributed workforces are creating opportunities to reshape the workplace and businesses for good.

Multiracial business team having a meeting at a small office with colleagues connecting via video call. Colleagues working from home having video conference with the team working in startup office.
summ22 fc
This article is taken from the latest issue of Think Global People magazine.
Click on the cover to access the digital edition.Watch the highlights of our Keynote Panel Discussion from the Future of Work Festival hereWatch the highlights of our 2022 Relocate Global Awards here

Ahead of Relocate Global's Future of Work Festival and coinciding with Fiona Murchie's article in the spring issue of Think Global People where she strongly argues "it is organisations that understand the value of supporting global mobility that will lead the way in the recovery", a white paper from American Express GBT and consultancy CULTIQUE suggest this is a moment for reframing how companies view travel and move people – including their hearts and minds: “No longer as a commodity, but instead as an investment in creating everyday resilience and meaningful connections that future-proof ‘how we work’ in ways that align with culture’s changing course.”Their white paper, Why Business Travel is the Center of the New Company Culture, paints another compelling picture of how, in this age of remote and distributed workforces, global mobility and travel are fundamental to creating connectedness, building social capital and company cultures. 
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Related reading from Relocate Global

A new definition of mobility?

As we have seen in the latest HVS Serviced Apartment Report for Europe, growth in the extended-stay sector is being driven by anticipation of more business travel. As significantly, serviced apartment operators are also designing collaborative and co-living/working spaces into their new locations. It is an exciting vision. It acknowledges the importance of business travel and international assignments more widely for building corporate culture and identities, whether through onboarding at HQs or regional offices, sharing thought leadership at conferences, team building, or virtual assignments and relocations. It also suggests that ‘travel’ provides the momentum for growth – both personal and business – and is an ongoing journey rather than a single destination. These dynamic collective and individual experiences nurture company culture and connectedness. By moving global mobility, remote work and business travel to the strategic heart of organisations, the paper outlines how organisations can ignite their ability to thrive in these uncertain times.

Reframing what it means to move people

Forward-thinking businesses are already addressing the ‘where’ and ‘how’ of work. The explosion of new HR jobs with 'Remote' in the title has increased by 237% since the pandemic. KPMG’s report around remote and distributed workforces also shows the strategic intent. As Dr Sue Shortland has also written about previously, the global mobility role is adapting and changing to take a more strategic and talent-focused approach, potentially bringing business travel and global mobility into a shared remit.“Irrespective of the current reality of Covid-19, the workplace was already changing,” wrote Dr Sue Shortland. “The central challenge in both cases rests in ensuring appropriate strategic decision-making is supported by people management practices that are designed to achieve flexibility as businesses take new directions.” 

Resolving new tensions

The recent shift to hybrid working, remote and distributed workforces brings with it new challenges like proximity bias and tax compliance. Yet by reframing travel and placing it at the centre of heart of organisations, everything else – DEI, technology, events, HR, management, procurement – spurs out of it. “We’ve witnessed the emergence of Chief Data Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, and even Chief Wellness Officers – all roles demonstrating a clear reprioritisation of new areas,” says CULTIQUE co-founder, Sarah Unger. “These moves represent a powerful way to address and elevate essential workplace needs.”

‘Think like a Chief Journey Officer’

American Express GBT suggests that a first step to building resilience through mobility means adopting a Chief Journey Officer mindset. This “requires travel teams and corporate leadership to view travel as a mode to meet pressing cultural demands” across five spaces:
  1. Company culture
  2. Worker wellbeing
  3. Professional development,
  4. Employee empowerment
  5. Corporate values.
It also means taking a leading role in collaborating across the organisation with teams in HR, finance in a more joined up approach.“Opening the aperture on business travel will allow leadership to overcome many hurdles of a newly distributed work world — unlocking ways to cultivate company culture and achieve sustained business goals,” the paper concludes. “More than procurement and logistic keepers, travel managers are in a prime position to fuel this transition by becoming stewards for company values and employee experiences — two things now largely driven by travel.”
©2022 Re:locate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein.
summ22 fc
This article is taken from the latest issue of Think Global People magazine.
Click on the cover to access the digital edition.Watch the highlights of our Keynote Panel Discussion from the Future of Work Festival hereWatch the highlights of our 2022 Relocate Global Awards here

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