Bill Gates predicts more than half of all business travel will disappear even after pandemic

Business travel will be cut back by more than half post-pandemic, and time spent in the office will reduce by a third, according to Bill Gates.

The prolific tech giant gave his predictions for the post-pandemic workplace during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times DealBook conference in November, according to Business Insider.

Gates said travelling long distances for in-person meetings will no longer be the “gold standard”. He predicts many companies will have a “very high threshold” for this kind of business travel.

However, he said the rise of virtual events stops delegates from meeting new people, confessing he hasn’t made any new friends this year because he hasn’t been able to meet people at random.

“More could be done on the software side to allow for serendipitous run-ins after meetings,” Gates said.

He also predicted that time spent in the office will be reduced by as much as a third.

“My prediction would be that over 50 per cent of business travel and over 30 per cent of days in the office will go away,” Gates said.

Despite this dire prediction, Flight Centre’s third State of the Market survey found that half of the world’s organisations have already begun travelling again.

The survey, conducted by the brand’s consulting arm 4th Dimension, represented business travellers working across 60 countries.

According to the findings, 50 per cent of respondents said they have employees already travelling or booking reservations to travel in the near future, and the combined results of all three pieces of research shows more than 90 per cent of businesses planned to travel domestically and short-haul flights within three months of governments reopening borders and lifting restrictions.

Yet, the number of trips taken will likely be lower, as only 26 per cent of businesses are planning to return to their pre-COVID-19 levels for domestic travel during 2021.

Featured image source: Facebook/Bill Gates