COVID-19 has sparked the largest telecommuting experiment in history, and the collateral effects of this pandemic will have a long-term impact on the professional world.
That’s what at least Bill Gates has revealed, who recently stated that ” my prediction is that more than 50% of business trips and more than 30% of office work will disappear .”
Brutal reduction in business trips
For the Microsoft co-founder, “the threshold will now be very high” for work trips, which means that only certain scenarios will make them really indispensable now that working remotely has become much more normal.
Video conferencing and virtual events seem to have fulfilled much of the function of physical meetings and events , and although in some cases face-to-face meetings are necessary and can be much more productive, the effect of the pandemic on the transformation of our way of working seems obvious to Gates.
To those comments made in his participation (virtual, of course) in the New York Times Dealbook conference, there are other recent ones such as those he made in the podcast of his blog, “Gates Notes”. In one of the last episodes, he explained how not having to travel for work due to the pandemic has made him have “a simpler and more relaxed agenda.”
For Gates, the professional world will change significantly in the “new normal” and in that post-pandemic future that we hope we can reach soon. “We will go to the office and travel for work, but we will do it dramatically less frequently than we do now.”
That prediction does not leave good feelings for the world of hospitality and for airlines: before the arrival of COVID-10, half of the income of airlines in the US came from travelers who traveled for work, but only They made 30% of the trips: they spent more than tourists or other travelers on this means of transport.
Those statements by Gates contrast about covid-19 with those of Judson Althoff, one of Microsoft’s current directors, who indicated that “the travel routes that we had … will continue at the level they had.” The experts in this field do not seem to agree very much with that hope, and many have positioned themselves like Gates.
A recent survey conducted by consulting firm Olyver Wyman included 2,500 professionals who traveled frequently. 43% of them declared that they expected to travel less after COVID-19, and in fact that survey exceeded that expectation compared to the one carried out in the first edition of the study: professionals had verified that videoconferencing could be an acceptable substitute for those encounters.