Sylvia Burbery is delighted that she no longer spends most of her life travelling for work.
“I am grateful that the pandemic has forced us to step back and look at ways of working we took for granted,” said the regional president for emerging markets at Mars petcare brand Royal Canin.
“I am very happy not to go back to spending 80% of my time travelling. I am not even sure it will be 50%,” Burbery said from her home office in Paris.
Burbery’s sentiments are echoed by workers around the world who are tired of the grind of corporate travel. This is bad news for the airlines, hotels and conference centres that rely on this lucrative business.
Mars, the family-owned snack and pet food company, said cost, environmental and health considerations were behind its decision to keep travel to less than half pre-pandemic levels, meaning 145,000 fewer flights per year.
Nici Bush, Mars global vice president for workplace transformation, said reducing travel could also make senior jobs more attractive to people with families.
She said 700 staff members could attend online strategy or sales events compared with the 100 people who used to meet in person: “You can really be more surgical about when you travel.”
Niklas Andreen, the chief operating officer of global corporate travel management firm CWT, knows the prospects are slim for a quick bounce back to pre-pandemic levels for the business travel sector.