Corporate travel has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, with many companies having to improvise in the midst of travel bans and the uncertainty of employee safety. As a result, businesses have found that cutting down on or eliminating business travel is an optimal solution for money management, and also reducing carbon footprints on a corporate level.
Two such companies, global consulting firms Capgemini and Cognizant, have recently announced a new program outline which would make justifiable employee travel extremely minimal in comparison to previous practices. Both companies have stated that they have had bipartisan success with virtual business dealings in the last 18 months, so much so that there seems to be limited reasons left for employee travel.
Between both companies, this decision will be responsible for a $900 million decrease in spending. Cognizant has approximately 300,000 employees and, pre-COVID, spent anywhere between $250 million to $300 million annually in air travel alone. Capgemini had similarly alarming budgets for travel, with 80,000 of its 250,000 employees accounting for over $600 million in travel expenses in 2019 alone.
As a way of implementing this measure, Cognizant has enacted a travel ban for the remainder of the year. Next year, the company will begin introducing pre-authorization requirements for travel, which includes a travel approval form and code.
Similarly, Capgemini will be determining an appropriate cap for its travel budget. The company will question the return investment of all potential trips and work towards a “zero-based” approach in all travel decisions henceforth. The company will also be encouraging “bundling” corporate trips in the future so as to eliminate unnecessary meetings.
This follows a popular trend in travel budgeting in the past 18 months. The U.K., for instance, has seen a staggering 85% decrease in business travel nationwide, saving companies approximately £4 billion. The foreseeable future will likely include similar travel decreases internationally.
Though this decision will definitely be a contributor to the decline of the aviation sector in modern times, it is a welcomed budget improvement for many companies looking to smoothly recover from the constant uncertainties resulting from the global pandemic.