Having worked in academia, multinational corporate, public sector, and SME, I have always been struck by the complete waste of money that is most corporate travel. The conference justification: contacts. The fly-four-hours-to-meet-for-an-hour justification: it’s political. And I could list a lot more.
Which is why I am encouraged by the growth of serious and fully functional teleconferencing. Collaboration does need voice as well as internet – there is no doubt email can result in misunderstandings and unnecessary offence sometimes. But agencies now have access to equipment and service providers that make tele-collaborating effective. See here for an example (no endorsement intended, just a random private provider).
And if you save money on travel and accommodation, you can spend it somewhere else. Like on frontline services or programs building to results.
Like every other money saver, it comes at a price. Primarily the extra effort involved in making sure things work right when done at a distance. But if it saves money and keeps services running, it’s probably worth it.