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New Study Finds Business Travelers Less Productive

  • September 17, 2003

More than half require at least two days to catch up on work, physical health, and personal life due to travel related stress, both physical and emotional

A new independent study* has found that business travelers are not only less productive while on the road, but also less productive for significant periods of time after their return - in some cases more than three days. Travel related stresses, including physical ailments, anxiety caused by increased security, and simply being away from the office, contribute to the recovery time business travelers say they need to return to "normal" productivity. The study was commissioned by Kensington Technology Group, the leading maker of innovative, reliable accessories that make using computers on the go more comfortable and productive.

Of the 600 respondents in the Kensington study who travel by air at least once a month, 50 percent need up to two full days to catch up on work responsibilities after a business trip, while 12 percent need at least three full days to recover. Fifty-three percent of respondents require one to two days to recover physically, and 51 percent take the same period of time to get their personal lives back in order.

Despite the proliferation of laptop computers, cell phones, and email-equipped PDAs designed to keep business travelers productive, the study found that people still work less and get less done on the road, simply because they waste more time and are more stressed by business travel. Fifty-five percent of respondents in the study say they spend too much unproductive time simply traveling to and from airports, while 41 percent are stressed by time wasted in airport security lines. And, while nearly all respondents (99 percent) carry laptop computers on their trips, only 39 percent use them to do work on the plane.

In terms of physical stress, two out of every five respondents experience headaches, back pain, neck pain, or sleeplessness while traveling, and nearly three out of five suffer from significant fatigue. All this, combined with the disruption of home and family schedules, clearly illustrate why people who travel on business need serious recovery time on both professional and personal levels.

"Kensington commissions independent studies like this one because we invariably uncover knowledge that is not only important to us, but insightful, informative and interesting for business in general," said Tom Russo, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Kensington Technology Group. "As a frequent business traveler, I certainly understand the effects of jet lag and stress, but this study shows the extent to which those effects can impact the productivity of any company. Fully understanding this new data and the issues that concern our customers gives us a distinct advantage as we continue to design and develop industry-leading solutions that help to minimize the work-induced stress people experience every day."

Better connectivity and increased comfort seem to be the best solutions for maximizing productivity and minimizing recovery time, according the study's respondents. Nearly 40 percent say that productivity on the road would increase if they had better connectivity to the Internet, and one in four say they would get more work done simply by making their traveling environment less "cramped" and more ergonomic.

"Space in the airplane and noise in the airport make it difficult to work or be comfortable," wrote one respondent. "This is where the stress comes from." Another wrote succinctly: "More security, more waiting, more stress." Still, others are stressed by simply being away from home: "Business travel disrupts my entire life! I am a wife and mother, and trying to juggle all my responsibilities stresses me out!"

Kensington commissioned the study, conducted by San Francisco-based Socratic Technologies, as part of its ongoing commitment to increase awareness and realize the benefits of comfort and productivity in and outside the workplace.

About Kensington

Kensington is a leading provider of desktop and mobile device accessories, trusted by IT, educators, business and home office professionals around the world for more than 35 years. Kensington products empower people to dynamically interact with content, creating a better working experience for productive performance. In both office and mobile environments, Kensington’s extensive portfolio of award-winning products provides trusted security, desktop productivity innovations, and ergonomic well-being. Our core competencies in engineering, industrial design, product quality and responsive customer support make Kensington The Professionals’ Choice.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Kensington operates as the technology division of ACCO Brands (NYSE: ACCO), one of the world’s largest designers, marketers and manufacturers of branded business, academic and consumer products, sold in more than 100 countries across the globe.

Kensington is the inventor and worldwide leader in laptop security locks, the acknowledged leader of Trackball innovation and offers a broad range of premium-branded desktop productivity solutions.

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