Companies like Deloitte, KPMG, Mercedes-Benz, upGrad, Dabur, Panasonic and Simplilearn have said their executives have started traveling for work when needed.
“With the improvement in feelings, the resurgence of economic activity and a growing sense of positivity and normalcy, we have gradually resumed critical business travel, keeping a close eye on developments,” said Martin Schwenk, director general and CEO of Mercedes-Benz. India.
The German luxury car maker had resumed two days of office work for all employees last month.
At KPMG, the professional services company, employees travel to other cities and countries for the delivery of the work. In April, KPMG’s trips amounted to nearly 100 tickets, today it’s mostly more than 1,000 tickets per month, its COO Arjun Vaidyanathan said.
“Business has improved dramatically and customers are now requesting meetings,” he said. “Customers are waiting for our employees at customer sites for project delivery. ”
Most businesses use a mix of virtual and physical interfaces to meet with clients or investors in other locations.
“As with the return to power, we are moving with caution when it comes to business travel, whether national or international,” said SV Nathan, partner at Deloitte India. “Where possible, we continue to encourage the use of digital resources.
A significant number of Deloitte employees have received at least one dose of the vaccine. “They are waiting for a second shot, such precautions are always cautious,” Nathan said.
At edtech unicorn upGrad, domestic business travel has spiked exponentially, increasing fivefold in August and September, compared to March-April levels. International business travel has also started.
With the business in expansion mode, upGrad’s senior executives and management team travel to Mexico, Singapore, New York, London and Chicago in addition to Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad in India, said its co-founder Mayank Kumar.
Employees of the consumer goods company Dabur have also started traveling since July. “Executives are traveling to India for meetings with clients and this month we have selectively resumed international travel,” a company spokesperson said. Much of the travel is due to the launch of a factory in Indore.
Travel for work has yet to reach pre-Covid levels, although companies say it will continue to show an upward trend unless wave third hits.
Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice president of Nasscom, said most executives of IT companies travel to the country. “We expect international travel (for the IT industry), especially to the United States, to pick up after Diwali,” she said.
Consumer electronics giant Panasonic has said it is encouraging the use of digital means for meetings away from the base location, even as its executives have started to travel. “With branches and teams spread across the country, we were able to run operations smoothly without relying too much on travel,” said Adarsh Mishra, CHRO of Panasonic India. “We will assess our travel policy after Diwali.”
The trips started in a controlled manner at the vocational training company Simplilearn. “Travel in the next quarter will become more important if the Covid situation is brought under control,” said founder Krishna Kumar.