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Office Workers Struggle with Demand for In-Person Meetings

As business travel continues to rise to pre-pandemic levels, U.K. professionals are finding that they’re expected to be constantly available on the way to work and during business trips.

By Maggie Mancini

New research from Blacklane reveals that more than half (52%) of office workers in the U.K., who have experienced an increase in in-person meetings, are struggling to cope with the increased demand as business travel and face-to-face time is on the rise. 

For many, this has resulted in an increase in business travel, with 35% admitting the frequency of work-related travel has steadily increased over the last two years. In fact, 66% of office workers have travelled up to 50 times in the last 12 months.  

The research confirms and even exceeds the results of a separate report, which shows business travel is booming, predicting that it will reach its pre-pandemic total of £1 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly £1.4 trillion by 2027 as companies resume business operations. 

“Across the board we’re seeing a huge increase in the demand for business travel as we experienced a growth rate of 50% in the past year and our revenue quadrupled in 2022 compared to the previous year,” says Dr. Jens Wohltorf, CEO and founder at Blacklane. “People spend more time out and about meeting clients, colleagues, associates and so on, and in turn this means more time spent away from the desk, impacting efficiency and ultimately meaning more work is trying to be squeezed into the same day.”  

Whilst in-person meetings and business travel are on the rise, virtual meetings persist with 53% saying there’s also an increase in remote meetings—adding to the difficult balance between the virtual and face-to-face world. For 48% of office workers, this change is accompanied by a feeling of increased pressure to be constantly available, especially on the way to work and during business trips. This perception is significantly more pronounced among younger generations like Gen Z (50%) than among baby boomers (31%).  

When it comes to productivity on the go, 70% of office-based professionals send emails outside of work, often when commuting or travelling (31%).  

Nearly one-quarter (24%) of office professionals cite a lack of internet connection as the worst part of trying to work on the go, followed by unplanned wait times and delays (17%), as well as noise (16%) and overcrowding (12%).  

Tags: EMEA April 2024, EMEA News

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