It is easier than ever to develop a global business, thanks to the internet. With little more than an online shop, companies can begin selling products to customers in countries across the world. Businesses can communicate with manufacturers in far-flung regions, and business travelers can maintain connections with headquarters no matter where they roam.
Unfortunately, also thanks to the internet, it is harder than ever to keep business running smoothly from overseas. Because employees depend so much on their web connections to complete work-related tasks, traveling for business can be an incredible risk. What if their hotel doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi? What if their hotel doesn’t have internet at all? What if the only web connections in the city are extremely costly and exceedingly insecure?
Businesses must be able to provide business travelers with reliable, safe connections — or they shouldn’t bother sending their workers away at all. Before sending workers away on distant trips to build a global business empire, businesses should consider a few facts about the internet and business travel.
The Internet Is Business Travelers’ Primary Cause of Stress
There are plenty of concerns that weigh on business travelers’ mind: time efficiency and cost effectiveness, business goals for their trip, personal issues associated with distance from home and family, and more. In a survey of more than 10,000 business travelers, a quarter claim constant worries about the noise levels of different locations, and more than a quarter have anxiety about transportation from here to there.
However, more than any other travel- or business-related issue, the internet is an overwhelming concern. Slow, spotty, or absent connections in hotel rooms raise stress levels considerably in already over-taxed business travelers — and the last thing businesses want is for their overseas workers to feel any unnecessary strain. Because business travel takes employees away from home, workers’ stress tends to be higher than those who remain at headquarters; in fact, one study found that even deluxe business travel can prematurely age a person, weaken their immune system, increase their risk for obesity, and increase the likelihood of mental disease. Adding the possibility of an uncertain internet connection is like asking workers to fail in their missions and quit the company entirely in a fit of stress.
Internet Access Is the Most Important Amenity Anywhere
While it is easy to find hotel rooms well-stocked with mini-bars, mini-fridges, and luxurious baths, internet remains the most important amenity for business travelers. Well over half, about 61 percent, of business travelers assert that they would rather have a fast, reliable internet connection than nearly any other feature in their rooms. In fact, business travelers are likely to choose a hotel based on the availability of Wi-Fi; locations that provided unsatisfying internet experiences in the past are unlikely to receive subsequent patronage. The same is becoming true of flights and airlines: 90 percent of business travelers are willing to give up a physical amenity, like extra legroom or free drinks, if that will earn them free, fast internet.
Unfortunately, over 80 percent of business travelers are disappointed by their connectivity away from home, even when it is a restricted, paid service. Therefore, businesses should be willing to ensure their traveling workers’ connections by subscribing to a global Wi-Fi service. Such services promise a secure mobile connection regardless of a worker’s location around the world, thanks to multiple hotspots in various countries. Often, such services are available in-flight, as well, so travelers can get work done while on the move. It is a practical solution to a pervasive problem among business travelers.
The Internet Is More Than a Business Tool
While an inability to log into crucial business tools is a significant stress for the traveling worker, many studies have found that a lack of internet connection is primarily stressful for a completely different reason: It cuts travelers off from their loved ones. Typically, travelers rush to check in and log onto the web so they can make contact with family and friends, which reduces the stress of being far from home. Therefore, businesses should be interested in helping global workers connect, if only because comfortable and balanced workers are more efficient and effective at their jobs.