It’s that time of year again; time to predict marketplace trends. Whether trying to explain the past year’s business ups and downs or preparing for next year’s marketplace, those in the know have begun forecasting, prognosticating and generally gazing into their crystal balls. After having read many of these predictions, including the results of various, pertinent surveys, here’s my take on what we can expect in 2010 and beyond with regard to trends in business travel.Corporations will gradually begin to concentrate on managing trade and reducing travel. While everyone seems to agree that face-to-face meetings will continue to remain fundamentally indispensable in the way of doing business, most notably with regard to client relationships, corporations will put the emphasis on managing trade and reducing travel. Even so, businesses will carefully study how they may obtain the greatest return on investment from travel, doing away with any needless or excessive business trips.The competition for employee talent may well lead to a noticeable reduction in limiting travel protocols, balanced by stronger compliance standards. Travel guidelines may also turn out to be less restrictive as businesses increase their attempts to draw and maintain suitable professional individuals. Further attention will be focused on employees’ work-life balance as well as managing productivity and less on accomplishing savings at the expense of traveler comfort and well-being.Companies will ramp up attempts to control travel-related hazards. Preserving the safety of business travelers will continue to be of the utmost importance to travel managers, especially with regard to high-risk travel destinations. Corporate travel professionals will be looking for the ability to recognize services which will facilitate the improvement of traveler safety.Consumers will depend upon merchants to become a motivating force in discovering “green” solutions. Fundamentally, businesses will seek to balance environmental issues with economic obligations, putting into practice a holistic, sustainable methodology with regard to travel.Technology will continue to enhance the business traveler’s experience. Significant concepts will feature self-service, plug and play, one-stop shop and cellular phones. Simply put, from the decision to travel to post trip reporting of expenses, corporations will persist in seeking out technology that is more user-friendly and of worth to employees during their travel process. At the booking stage, additional travelers will make use of on-line tools as companies strive to better accommodate individuals within their travel design.Believe it or not, this is not the complete outline of significant changes that may impact business travel as a whole. In Part 2 of 2010 Business Travel Trends we will continue to explore the very real possibilities that may play out for the business traveler in the not so distant future.
There’s nothing like the freedom we ‘used’ to enjoy in the construction industry to make you feel ‘really good’ when you got up in the morning. I’m just glad that I was born in the era of ‘common sense’. When we weren’t wrapped up in cotton wool for our own safety like building workers are today.The irony is; that with all of the ‘health and safety’ equipment everyone has to wear and use these days, workers are actually put in ‘more’ danger because of the ‘physical restrictions’ the safety-wear imposes. Not least the wearing of goggles and gloves in a trade that relies on peripheral vision to establish what’s going on all around at all times, and the natural ‘feel’ we need to ‘know’ if what we’re doing is accurate or not.If you’ve ever put on a pair of H&S goggles, you’ll know just how they restrict your vision. You find yourself holding your head at strange angles just to get a ‘feel’ for your environment.Have you ever tried to do anything ‘artistic’ with gloves on? It’s a contradiction in terms to say the least. Yet construction workers ‘are’ artist mainly. You have to have a ‘feel’ and intuition for the work. You have to have a sixth sense almost to know when you’ve got it right.As soon as you don all of the specified H&S gear, your natural instincts are ‘gone’. You are now just a worker-drone, going through the motions much like the robotic car assembly lines. Buildings being created with no ‘soul’ anymore.We weren’t given our senses so that we could mask them off and stumble around being restricted. We were given them so that we could ‘naturally’ assess our environment at all times, and act fast to counter-act any dangers or miscalculations that cropped up in our lives.Take the laying down of plastic sheeting on wooden floors for protection. Somehow, health & safety seem to think it’s a great idea and it should be implemented everywhere. I had a stand-off several years ago regarding this very issue. Plastering is a wet-trade, and as the name implies, a lot of water gets used, and dripped or splashed everywhere. What do you get when you put water on top of any plastic sheeting? As any nine year old child will tell you, you get a skating rink.How many back, elbow and leg injuries are caused on skating rinks? Let alone with razor-sharp trowels in your hand that can slice through an artery in an instant. Cover floors by all means with thin hardboard, but that idea is not only too simple, it’s not cost-effective, and that leads to the whole crux of the matter. Money!Health & Safety is a ‘money-gravy-train’ thought up by the Boffins that are paid a fortune to sit around all day dreaming up new ways to extract our hard-earned wages and put them to ‘no good’. Construction workers were earning TOO much money and had to be slowed down. This has been achieved by creating jobs for people with little or no intellect to run the lives of those who maybe have ‘too much’ natural savvy, and brimming with common sense.Whole industries have been created to serve the ‘Heath & Safety’ niche`, from equipment that’s superfluous, to design and printing of the numerous ‘signs’ that are put up everywhere you turn, just to make sure you obey the H&S ‘rules’ of engagement.You have the overstaffing of far too many H&S departments up and down the country, all who are paid a salary far beyond their life-qualifications. All at the expense of the ‘die hard’ construction worker who has had to take a ‘drop’ in income to facilitate the ‘Heath & Safety’ mantra.Health and safety is a mechanism set up to ‘control’ us. To disable our natural instincts and senses so that we can be led blindly into a future we would never recognise as ‘normal’ in a million years.
The slump in the Scottish economy showed that output decreased by 0.2 per cent during Quarter 1 in 2012 with a further decrease in Quarter 2 of 0.4 per cent, which equalled the UK decline in GDP as a whole, and a decline in manufacturing of over 2 per cent. Much of the downturn has impacted the construction sector which has shrunk by 10 per cent during 2012.However this decrease in the construction sector has spurred construction leaders and developers in Scotland to come together and launch optimistic and ambitious growth plans to combat the decline for the next four years. The strategy called `Building for the Future’ will be driven by a new Construction Scotland industry leadership group.The group is the lead and key organisation for the Scottish building industry and is formed to direct and unite the industry and act as the voice for the industry. The group is made up from a variety of organisations including the public sector, colleges, trade bodies, businesses and universities and is recognised as the leader in and voice of the construction industry by the Scottish Government.The plans and priorities set out for building the Scottish construction industry and pushing for growth is by developing a more successful construction industry, driving innovation and productivity, working in partnership to deliver a low carbon environment and establishing a cohesive voice for the industry in Scotland.The strategy outlines putting innovation at the heart of the construction industry and to pursue global markets, growing exports by 10 per cent.The strategy also outlines an increase in collaboration between construction sector businesses and within the supply chain. In order to increase productivity, improving the workforce’s skills, improving process and systems and enhancing design and specification will be at the core of activity to drive improved productivity in the sector.The plan also states that it aims to reduce carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 by producing more carbon-efficient products and constructing zero-carbon buildings. The sector will also work in conjunction with colleges and universities to advance research for carbon-friendly building and construction.The strategy overall aims to increase the profitability of the Scottish construction industry and its holistic contribution to the Scottish economy and to boost its recovery from the dramatic decline it has seen during the past year in 2012.The strategy is also dependent upon the cohesive collaboration and co-operation of all parties within the sector including agencies, local authorities, smaller construction companies and the Scottish Government. It is also hoped that the Construction Scotland reputation and brand will be enhanced globally and that quality construction services and products can be innovated, used and exported both across Scotland and overseas markets.