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Bill Gates predicts half of all business travel won't return once COVID-19 is gone, report says

Meetings could continue taking place online even after the pandemic is over.

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Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Bill Gates: Companies will have a "very high threshold" for traveling to conduct in-person meetings.

Screenshot by CNET

Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicts that half of all business travel won't return after the coronavirus pandemic ends and that people will also work far less often from a physical company office, Business Insider reported. Gates made the remarks Tuesday at The New York Times DealBook conference, BI said.

"My prediction would be that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away," Gates reportedly said, adding that from now on, businesses will have a "very high threshold" for traveling to conduct in-person meetings.

Microsoft has already announced a permanent work-from-home policy for eligible employees, who can also choose from a hybrid model where they spend some days in the office. Twitter, Facebook and other tech companies have announced similar policies. 

The Microsoft founder didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's also possible many tech conferences could stay in their online format, rather than hosting tens of thousands of people at a brick and mortar convention center.

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