Business travellers "blurring" line between private and professional lives

12 Oct 2013 by Tom Otley

Research by Pullman Hotels and research institute IPSOS has shown that there is an increased intermingling or "blurring" between international travellers' private and professional lives.

The survey which was conducted with over 2,200 international travellers highlighted that "blurring" causes a 24/7 working ethos with:

  • 61% of travellers bringing professional devices on holiday
  • 48% checking their emails before leaving for working in the morning
  • 18% checking their emails during a private meal, and
  • 27% checking their emails in bed at night.

Interestingly, this "blurring" is perceived differently from one country to another: 83% of the Brazilian and 92% of Chinese travellers surveyed believe these devices help their career development. In contrast, only 60% of British travellers share this opinion and 82% of Brits feel obligated to work outside of normal office hours.

Pullman Connectivity Lounge

Xavier Louyot, SVP Global Marketing Pullman commented: "The concept of a 9-5 job is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The need to remain connected to both business and leisure lifestyles has led to a dependence on technology.

"What's interesting is how the different world travellers perceive this. Is technology freeing or restraining and can we find the balance?"

The research found the following about UK travellers:

  • 86% take a work mobile on holiday and 40% go so far as to take their work laptop away.
  • 90% of Uk travellers admit to working, checking or sending business emails in the evening,
  • 73% extend work into their holidays
  • 40% check their emails in bed before going to sleep.

When asked why business blurs into leisure, 62% of UK travellers simply say their role requires a high level of involvement, whilst 28% want to show commitment and 14% justify it by say everyone at work does it.

The news gets worse. Some 82% of UK travellers feel obligated to work out of hours, with only 60% feeling this will facilitate professional development.

As a result 72% feel work devices impact on their personal life, 51% feel guilty for not spending as much time as they would like with loved ones because work comes home with them, and 27% are rebuked by loved ones for not switching off. As a result, 13% of those questioned find themselves hiding the amount of out of office hours from loved ones.

Conversely, some believe "blurring" has a positive impact on their private life: owning a mobile professional device enables them to stay in touch with their families (89% "agree" and 43% "agree wholeheartedly").

Some 33% of the survey panel spends at least 30 minutes a day browsing the Internet for personal reasons (reading the news, booking holidays, consulting bank accounts, and checking their Facebook page).

(Presumably if you are reading this at the weekend, it proves the point).

Conversely, the emergence of work activities within the private sphere has a knock-on effect: the emergence of personal activities at work, which they consider legitimate and part of a tacit moral agreement with their employer.  They consider it normal to handle private activities during their working hours quite simply because they also work when they are at home.

Seasoned travellers welcome this new way of organizing their private and professional lives: 79% view it positively. However,"one in two travellers sometimes feel remorse when not devoting this time to loved ones".

Worldwide, although corporate travellers recognize the negative effects of increased blurring between their private and professional lives, 82% believe that having a mobile professional device allows them to work more freely and improves the way they manage their various responsibilities.

Professional devices allow them to work more efficiently (83% agree) and more productively (82% agree). "Blurring" is even considered a career accelerator by 32% of the survey population. 61% say they take at least one professional device on holiday or on weekend trips (and 43% say they always take them).

Tom Otley

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