More than 300 million Americans are under stay-at-home orders to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Those who are able to are working from home and companies have halted non-essential business travel, canceling or postponing conferences and events worldwide. Two new surveys suggest that U.S. employees are eager to return to those meetings and business travel once the threat of COVID-19 has passed and social distancing policies have been lifted.
A new survey by APCO Insight suggests that American workers—particularly those who attended in-person meetings and conventions before the pandemic—are eager to return to them when COVID-19 is contained and physical distancing policies are no longer needed. According to the survey, 83 percent of those working from home in the U.S. say they miss attending in-person meetings and conventions and 78 percent say they plan to attend as many or more when it is safe to do so. Most Americans expect that things will return to “normal” in three to four months, including on-site work (66 percent), retail shopping (72 percent), business (79 percent), and leisure travel (80 percent), according to the survey.
Another survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) of its members from April 1-4, 2020, showed that travelers are eager to get back on the road. Almost every GBTA member company (98 percent) reported canceling and/or suspending all international business travel and most (92 percent) have canceled or suspended all or most domestic travel.
The members surveyed varied on when they expected business travel to resume: slightly more than half expected travel to resume within the next two (32 percent) or three (19 percent) months, while 16 percent are unsure. When asked to assess employee willingness to travel once restrictions are lifted, the majority of GBTA member companies expect most (33 percent) or some (33 percent) employees will be willing to travel, while a smaller proportion anticipates unwillingness on the part of some (13 percent) or most (2 percent) employees to travel. A majority of GBTA members (62 percent) expect the coronavirus will change the way their company conducts business once the threat is over.