For those people who have never travelled on business for a large company, at face value, this looks like something of a gravy train.When you are standing in lengthy queues for airport taxis at the end of your holiday, it can sometimes be easy to drift into a little resentment when you see those luxury limousines cruising up for business people to step seemingly effortlessly into as soon as they walk out of the terminal doors.If you are also sitting in an aircraft in what is sometimes uncharitably called “Cattle Class” and catch a glimpse through the curtains of those in Business Class, then once again your resentment can rise to the surface.Of course, it’s all perfectly understandable and many of us would admit to having experienced it. Yet before we run away with the idea that this is all about corporate excess, it’s worth taking some of the balancing factors into consideration.
Unlike when travelling for personal reasons such as holidays, business people are often expected to work while they are in transit. It’s commonplace for them to have major papers to produce or presentations to construct on their laptops while they are actually in mid-air or sitting in the back of one of those luxury limousines.
Anyone who has travelled on business will tell you that it is a fundamentally different psychological experience to personal travel. It’s extremely tiring and stressful and does not signify either the start or end of a pleasurable holiday.
Significant numbers of business travellers are forced to travel frequently. Although it’s hard to believe, the novelty of travel very quickly wears off and it can be tedious and draining when repeated regularly.
Companies don’t look for limousines to hire because they like to pamper their employees or win popularity contests. They do so because time is money and having expensive personnel doing nothing as they stand in lengthy queues waiting for buses and taxis just isn’t in the shareholders’ best interests. So, using a luxury limousine for an airport transfer is actually cost-beneficial for the company concerned.
Most business travellers, when they are travelling nationally or internationally, really don’t get much, if any, time to enjoy themselves and see the sights at their destination. One office or hotel room looks very much like any other all around the globe. It’s perfectly possible to fly very regularly to an overseas destination on business and never actually get to see anything of it other than an office and a sterile hotel room.
Finally, don’t let’s forget the severe disruption on personal lives that arises when people are forced to travel on business and particularly where they do so regularly. Partners, spouses and families can be significantly inconvenienced and as a result, additional stresses and strains can be placed on all concerned.
Okay, nobody is forcing the vast majority of business people to travel and they are presumably, at least for the most part, doing a job they enjoy. So, you don’t have to shed too many tears for them either!Even so, don’t assume that every time you see a luxury limousine collection at the airport or at an office complex, that it signifies the worst excesses of capitalism. It might be far more practical than that.