In today’s hybrid world, business professionals are finding the distributed work environment has many benefits. However, it can also create hurdles to building a company culture and fostering engagement, according to a new report called Investing in Travel to Strengthen Culture and Increase Engagement: A Strategy for Thriving in Disruption.
The research, released by American Express Global Business Travel and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, seven in 10 respondents agreed a primarily remote work model can make employees feel disconnected from their organization. Travel is often required to overcome the discrepancies and make in-person interactions happen.
The survey of more than 400 business professionals found that nearly three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) said meeting in-person for internal purposes is necessary to build stronger relationships between employees/teams. Nearly two-thirds (60  percent) cited greater collaboration and over half (55  percent) said it builds stronger organizational culture.

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“In today’s world of distributed workforces, business leaders increasingly value travel as an effective way to strengthen bonds between co-workers, spur collaboration, and support company culture,” noted Patricia Huska, chief people officer at Amex GBT. “Travel is a sign of commitment; by being there, you’re showing that you care enough about the relationship to be there in person.”
The majority of business respondents agreed it is more effective to conduct these interactions in-person compared to virtual meetings for the purposes of team building (79  percent vs. 19  percent), brainstorming (70  percent vs. 26  percent), and onboarding/training (58  percent vs. 31  percent). 
In addition, six in 10 respondents also agree that most employees in their organization believe business travel is a key component of their professional development, and 40 percent believe that fewer in-person internal meetings during the pandemic had a negative impact on their organization’s professional development and training.

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