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Companies Tired Of Zooming With Clients Expected To Drive A Resurgence In Business Travel, But Omicron Variant Looms

Lauren Zumbach
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Lauren Zumbach reports, “Approaches vary by company. About 38% of business travelers surveyed by Bank of America thought they would travel significantly less than before the pandemic, while 31% disagreed, according to a November report.”

Chicago

Many road warriors’ suitcases and passports have been gathering dust since the COVID-19 pandemic brought business travel to a halt.

That’s not the case at Chicago-based Devbridge, which hosted an all-hands event in Lithuania earlier this year and brought teams from Toronto, London and Lithuania to its Chicago office last month to workshop new products with clients.

The technology consulting firm’s 650 employees are spread across global offices and spent about 20% of their time on the road before travel restrictions were imposed in early 2020.

“The moment those were lifted, we had teams flying and visiting clients,” said co-founder and President Aurimas Adomavicius, who expects the company will eventually return to “business as usual” when it comes to employee travel.

“In-person collaboration for high-performing teams for us isn’t optional. It’s necessary,” Adomavicius said.

Corporate travel has been especially hard-hit during the pandemic, as people are quicker to plan vacations than business trips, especially as employers delay reopening offices amid a new wave of infections this fall. The emergence of a new highly transmissible variant, omicron, has added uncertainty about the timing for a broader return to business travel. Just last week, the U.S. imposed new restrictions on travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

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