Travel & Entertainment In The Age of COVID-19
During a recent discussion about our company’s finances, we came across a startling statistic. The Travel and Entertainment expenses on our P&L had plummeted to zero dollars. ZERO. Most businesses would be joyous that they’re saving money. But after thinking about how our savings would impact our local economy, there was little sense of satisfaction.
Our small 8-person operation used to spend thousands each month on transportation and meals, the latter of which dominated the category for GSP (the rest of the US consumes well over $30B on meals which is roughly 20% of total T&E expenses). As you can imagine, since we’ve all be working from home, those expenses have almost entirely diminished. That money was going to worthwhile services and goods provided by businesses that we care about deeply. They have taken a major hit because offices like ours have been silent over the last few months.
Restaurants in the Seaport, Back Bay and other neighborhoods with high daytime populations rely heavily on private dining room parties and business lunches. And the removal of the convention center activity has devastated retail in the surrounding area. Sure, people are starting to trickle back to their headquarters, but many workplaces remain closed and employees are still working from home. And you’ve seen the articles, that may not change for a long time, even beyond a vaccine. And large events aren’t happening any time soon, so upcoming conventions won’t save the day. Businesses will have to continue being creative to cover yet another gap in normal every-day revenue to survive.
Let’s also not forget the implications remote working will have on landlords as businesses begin downsizing their footprint. But that’s for another post…