The global pandemic has changed almost every aspect of work life, but one thing remains the same: the looming necessity for business travel. Virtual interactions notwithstanding, the requirement for face-to-face meetings between teams and decision-makers is not going away. But it won’t be business as usual.
For starters, business travel deemed non-essential has gone the way of a Zoom call. Further, the majority of those who have navigated working from home can no longer justify the need for short-term business travel, and if they try, the accountants are waiting for them. Business travel budgets will likely experience major cuts as ROI and bottom lines are assessed in a new light.
With corporate America ‘returning to work’ and embracing the ‘new normal’, in-person collaborations are no longer a rarity due to the proliferation of effective vaccines. That said, remote and hybrid work will remain a key aspect of business operations.
The 2021 Work Trend Index reveals that 73 percent of workers wish to retain the flexibility of remote work options, and 66 percent of businesses are considering redesigning their office spaces to facilitate hybrid strategies. Therefore, even business travelers will have to embrace the hybrid environment.
As the effects of the global pandemic continue to reverberate, many business travelers are hesitant to return to a high-touch, high-density hotel format. As a result, many business travelers find themselves looking to extended-stay options that offer a diminished risk exposure.
Predicting an increase in extended-stay travel, Craig James, CEO and founder of DWELLoptimal, said the hybrid live work solution represents a necessary progression for business travel. With an emphasis on productivity and consumer technology, the DWELL model differs from the “traditional, off-the-rack” extended stay.
“Most extended stay apartments create a tug-of-war between live and work,” he noted. “Traditionally, it’s been an apartment with a small desk. Our approach represents an evolution in prioritization.”
While the corporate apartment concept has been around for decades, DWELLoptimal stands apart from an increasingly crowded landscape of branded accommodations. Created to optimize the live/work equation for corporations, DWELL places the focus for business travel on one underlying deliverable – productivity.
Without question, employee well-being remains the primary concern for ‘return-to-work’ protocols and business travel. Accordingly, DWELLoptimal units offer HEPA air filtration, no-touch integrated nutrition services and in-unit fitness amenities. With keyless entry, virtual check-in/check-out, and industrial cleaning and sanitation protocols, DWELLoptimal aims to minimize the risk of potential air-borne and surface exposure to future COVID-19 variant strains.
Technology integration for the remote worker is of equal importance, with the explicit goal of maintaining peak productivity. In addition to the latest network protocols, IT security and encryption are integral features of DWELLoptimal’s remote work deliverable. The technology behind virtual meetings creates an environment ripe for hacking and IT security threats.
“We want to extend the latest security advancements to corporate clients – and we’ve assembled a framework to protect the remote worker,” James said.
From a pure productivity standpoint, DWELLoptimal seeks to reduce travel friction at “every client interaction.”
“At our core, we want to power the productivity of the employee,” James added. “That starts with eliminating travel friction in all the obvious ways. With instant Wi-Fi connections, Zoom conferencing and Slack integration, we’re utilizing technology to give time back to the mobile employee.”
Equipped with robust well-being, technology, and security features, DWELLoptimal tailored environments serve to meet personal and professional needs. It’s a formula designed to keep mobile employees and top performers functioning at a high level.
It is also tailored to keep them onboard. Employee retention is an increasingly important consideration in the post-pandemic era. In January 2021, 41 percent of employees surveyed by Edelman Data x Intelligence said they were likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year.
“In the quest for the best and most diverse talent, DWELL offers corporates an opportunity to use real estate as an attraction and retention tool. We create secure live/work environments that are designed for high-value employees to actually be valuable,” James says. “Why wouldn’t you give your employees access to more productive environments?”