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PLANES, TRAINS AND ... VIDEOCONFERENCES?

Executives Surveyed Say Technology Has Reduced Amount of Business Travel

MENLO PARK, CA -- The information superhighway may become the road most traveled by professionals, according to a new survey. Two-thirds (63 percent) of executives polled said they believe that technology has decreased the number of business trips today.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "In your opinion, how has technology affected the amount of business travel today?" Their responses:

Decreased the amount of travel significantly 11%
Decreased the amount of travel somewhat 52%
Not changed the amount of travel 25%
Increased the amount of travel somewhat 8%
Increased the amount of travel significantly 3%
Don't know / no answer    1%
100%

"A growing number of businesses are using e-mail, videoconferences and even online meetings conducted in real time to communicate with clients, customers and coworkers," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies® (IDG Books Worldwide). "These high-tech alternatives are helping to curb the time and expense associated with frequent business travel."

But, Messmer notes, technology should not replace face-to-face communication entirely. "In many situations, personal interaction remains the most effective way to reach consensus on a business issue. Even the most advanced electronic communication tools are no substitute for a solid handshake," he said.

Before trading in your plane tickets, Messmer recommends asking the following questions:

  • Is the topic of discussion confidential? If the information is sensitive, a one-on-one meeting may be more effective -- and private -- than a conference call or e-mail message.
  • Is technology being used to avoid confrontation? Controversial or negative information is best delivered in person to minimize the possibility of miscommunication.
  • How critical is the information being presented? It is easier to keep an audience engaged when you're with them in person. Participants on conference calls or online meetings may become distracted by other tasks and miss key points.

Accountemps has more than 290 offices throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.


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