Zoom, Skype or Teams: Zoom instead of jet set

Bonn (dpa) – “If someone goes on a trip, he can say something.” When the poet Matthias Claudius wrote these words in the 18th century, videoconferences were still a dream of the future.

A lot can be said today about Zoom, Skype or Teams – and not just from Corona. But the pandemic has not only shown lovers and loved ones, but also businesses that exchange is also practically possible.

Get up before dawn, dive into check-in for the first flight from Cologne to Berlin, exchange ideas with business partners for an hour, and come back the same day: what was daily life in many companies already seemed passed before Corona. A lot of CO2 has found its way into the atmosphere of the super-mobile and decentralized world of work. Then came the pandemic – and forced the world to think carefully: does it really have to be?

Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bank, Rheinmetall, Zalando, Evonik, RWE, Thyssenkrupp or Bayer: if you ask the big German companies, there is a big agreement between the sectors: “After Corona”, there will be no as many business trips as before – the lessons of the pandemic will remain.

For globally active companies, like Swiss Post, with employees in 220 countries, video meetings have long been a part of everyday life. But: “The pandemic has acted as a catalyst here and has given new impetus to virtual cooperation,” said a spokesperson for the post. In most cases, there was no loss of content, even the country visits were virtual. The Rheinmetall armaments company also reports lengthy cross-border contract negotiations that suddenly became possible with customers by video.

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A spokesperson said the number of phone or video conferences at Rheinmetall has increased six-fold in the past four months. At the same time, travel costs have fallen by around 80%. This “huge potential for savings” encourages more intensive use of the tools in the future than before.

It almost seems like the era of post-business travel only has its advantages: it saves money and time that is otherwise wasted at airports or train stations, is available for short appointments delay and also protects the climate. However, the virtual room is not the right one for every meeting, and many companies agree with that as well. “It is clear that virtual conferences cannot completely replace personal contact,” said a spokesperson for BMW.

The Post, Telekom, Rheinmetall and a number of other companies would like to assess them on a case-by-case basis and expect a mix of real and digital meetings. Christian Sewing, the director of Deutsche Bank, recently estimated that 10-20% less travel may be required for meetings with clients in the future.

Anyone who gets close to the person they’re talking to goes to great lengths. This appreciation, particularly in contact with customers, has so far often motivated certain business trips. Since travel was generally not a problem during the Corona period, all parties had the opportunity to get used to new forms without waiting. Personal meetings are therefore now less expected or organized by business partners, say Telekom and RWE. “The high level of willingness and acceptance of mobile working has automatically led to questioning the need for business travel at all levels – whether with colleagues, customers or service providers,” says a spokesperson. word of Evonik.

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A current study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization shows the same picture: almost 90 percent of the 500 German companies surveyed tend to question business travel at least more critically at l ‘to come up. The study authors predict: It will become more natural to organize virtual meetings rather than business trips.

As with Telekom, Audi reports that even before Corona, many trips were avoided in favor of digital meetings. Nothing has changed. Weather, money, stress or the weather – there are enough reasons for the trend to continue.

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