For Astellas, the pandemic presents a ‘smart’ reset opportunity

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For pharmaceutical company Astellas, the pandemic has been an opportunity to reset its global travel program. Not only is she set to appoint a single global travel management company, but she’s also introduced what she calls a “smart” travel program – backed at the CFO level – to help employees at the business to determine whether to hit the road or stay it’s virtual.

“Smart” in Astellas usage is an acronym that stands for “sustainable, mindful, nimble, reportable and focused,” said Sammit Khanndeparkar, global head of travel and spend. “He’s there to inspire employees to think about their work-life balance and makes it clear, ‘Please only travel when necessary’.”

Looking ahead, Khanndeparkar said he expects the pharmaceutical company’s business travel volumes to decline from 2019. So far, the recovery is nascent, with business travel held back by current travel restrictions.

“Asia is still relatively closed, and we don’t want people to travel and have problems,” Khanndeparkar said. “Elsewhere, we have a large presence in the United States, Latin America, EMEA and even Africa, and we have colleagues who travel to countries where there are no restrictions, where there are no there is no quarantine or travel advisory.”

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