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Silvia Forés

It must have been April of last year when I was listening to someone I knew in a video conference meeting. She was talking about the considerable benefits she had found in online meetings. In particular, she highlighted the time saved, avoiding early morning starts and queues in stations and airports, and achieving the same results in much less time.

Just a few weeks ago, I came across her again in a webinar, and she didn't seem so happy. She was complaining about not having time for anything, always tied to her chair, going from one virtual meeting to the next, feeling like she was running a marathon in a vicious circle; trapped within the walls of her home office, from which it was hard to escape to do any more than hang out the washing, a feat in itself some days, when there was barely enough time between meetings to do even that.

With the arrival of the pandemic, companies have identified an opportunity to reappraise travel and mobility. Although virtual meetings will never have the same effect as face-to-face meetings, they have clearly been shown to work and they have even helped us become more punctual.

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The Covid-19 era has served as a litmus test, insofar as companies have seen the opportunity to save time and money; they are seriously thinking about cutting business trips to a minimum, for more than just safety reasons, viewing this as a possible future trend. The savings on subsistence allowances, travel and hotel expenses represent a wealth of opportunities for the strictest financial directors.

However, not everyone is taken by the idea of "teletravelling", as I call it, that is to say, travelling professionally while seated in your own home to a business meeting with people located in other cities and countries.

With the arrival of the pandemic, companies have identified an opportunity to reappraise travel and mobility

The opportunity to travel for work is precisely one of the great attractions of what is known as the EVP (Employee Value Proposition), the showcase of benefits that a company offers its potential employees. Moving around and travelling is very popular, especially among young people. The summum of what companies can offer employees is the chance to develop a professional career in other countries, but if this is not possible, simply the opportunity to travel to other regions of Spain or Europe for the purpose of work, even for just a few days, is a compelling attraction for many people.

Will so much teleworking eventually dampen the enthusiasm shown by these young professional travellers at the prospect of joining certain companies that formerly sold their international outreach as an added value? I think sometimes we want it all.

Working from home when it suits us is very nice, but if it is imposed and it means you are always doing the same thing, as in the case of the acquaintance I mentioned earlier, the excitement of the unknown evaporates when it becomes just a routine.

I believe that when this pandemic is over, we will need to reassess many things, because it's very easy to say nothing will ever be the same again. As for travel, nothing will be the same again if we don't want it to be, because companies will be able to choose which direction they wish to take. I would be in no doubt, because travelling whenever the opportunity arises is in my blood, and teletravelling will never be the same.

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