BCD research: Business travelers want to be digital nomads

BCD’s 2022 traveler wellbeing research found more than half of business travelers would likely become digital nomads if their employer’s policies allowed.

After identifying digital nomadism and remote work as one of the top business travel trends for 2022, we surveyed business travelers and their employers for their views on the matter and other wellbeing aspects. Digital nomads are people who earn their living by working in various locations of their choosing (rather than a fixed business location); they rely on digital technology to work remotely. In our survey of 875 business travelers worldwide conducted by BCD Travel Research & Innovation, we learned eight in 10 business travelers work remotely at least part of their time. Half of survey respondents report that a mix of remote and office work is the most wellbeing friendly option, while four in 10 say remote work full time contributes to their wellbeing the most.

Six in 10 survey participants are likely to become digital nomads if their employer allowed. Work in the office full time was selected by only a small share of business travelers as the most complementary for wellbeing workplace policy.

According to half of the surveyed business travelers, their employers allow work from other locations, but in most cases restrictions apply (28% with restrictions vs. 22% without). A quarter of surveyed travelers are not aware of such policies existing in their companies.

Why the location of work is changing

Advances in technology and societal changes have contributed to a proliferation of new ways of working for (typically) office employees. Remote working is already a well-established practice in many companies and continues to drive dynamic changes in the labor market. It has taken on new forms, with the emergence of hybrid workers and digital nomads. This trend towards more remote working was given impetus by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many workers obliged to embrace remote working, if only temporarily. The shift will be a permanent feature for many workers, many of whom (or whose employers) may not have given it serious consideration until their hands were forced by the pandemic.

Take action to promote traveler wellbeing

Travel teams should confer with other internal departments to explore how business travelers’ wellbeing preferences can be integrated into their managed travel programs. Check our Back to Travel guide for tips and measures you can take to support quality experiences for your business travelers.

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