Steelcase Workplace Index Survey Reveals Growing Trend of Working on Vacation; - Study Finds Leaving Work Behind is the Exception to the Rule -

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20 July 2006


PR Newswire (U.S.)


Copyright 2006 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer, today unveiled the results of the first of a three-part Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2006. Conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), the study examines the number of people who work on vacation, the type of work they are doing, and the reasons they feel compelled to work while supposedly taking a break from the office.

Through a survey of nearly 700 office workers in the United States, the study revealed that only 61 percent of Americans use all of their allotted vacation time and almost half (43 percent) of the respondents spent at least some time working during their vacation. And the trend of working on vacation is growing significantly. Comparisons to a similar study conducted by Steelcase revealed that those who report working while on vacation has nearly doubled (43 percent versus 23 percent) in the 10 years since the last survey.

When asked the reasons why people work while on vacation, the majority of respondents reported it is because they are "committed to the job" (25 percent) or have "a pressing assignment that needs to be take care of" (22 percent). Additional reasons for working on vacation include "don't want to leave it all for when I get back" (12 percent), "technology makes it easy" (11 percent) and the inability to "relax until things are taken care of" (10 percent).

"Whenever we observe a marked trend over time, the first question we ask is why and the second is the impact it has on workers and the workplace," said Chris Congdon, manager of corporate marketing for Steelcase. "This data causes us to question whether job commitment has increased or if the ease of connectivity enables workers to demonstrate their job commitment remotely and persistently. In either case, the ability to connect to work from anywhere challenges the notion of what constitutes a workplace and demonstrates the need for worker support outside of the office - notions which interest Steelcase tremendously."

The type of vacation work is either to "complete an assignment" (35 percent) or to "catch up on paperwork" (28 percent), whereas in the 1995 survey, most reported they worked on vacation to "catch up on work-related reading" (40 percent) and to "check in with the boss" (34 percent). Approximately 19 percent of this year's participants said that they spent two hours or less working while on vacation. However, almost one out of four respondents (24 percent) spent three or more hours working during their vacation, cutting down on valuable rest and relaxation time.

The Gender Divide

The survey also looked at the influence gender has on working on vacation. Findings revealed that more men bring work on vacation than women (55 percent versus 43 percent). This proportion hasn't changed since the 1995 survey, when the results were 26 percent of men versus 18 percent of women, although the total number of men and women working on vacation has grown substantially. This year's survey revealed that women are more likely than men to work during a vacation to take care of a pressing assignment, while men are more likely to work during a vacation because technology makes it easy to complete assignments and to put out fires with clients.

Technology has and continues to play a critical role in enabling Americans to work on vacation. In fact, 80 percent of those that worked on their last vacation said that they utilized technology to complete their work. However, the technology used over the years is changing. The survey revealed that the technology that most encourages people to work during a vacation is a laptop computer (41 percent). Other technologies include the cellular phone (30 percent), a PC (10 percent) or a Blackberry (7 percent). In 1995, the cell phone was the culprit for encouraging the most work on vacation, according to 56 percent of the respondents. Other popular technologies in 1995 included the beeper, the fax machine, the laptop and the PC.

Steelcase conducts Workplace Index Surveys to uncover pertinent issues in today's work environment. This continual workforce feedback is essential to the development of Steelcase's information and expertise on the workplace, and to the company's product development and corporate ventures aimed to increase effectiveness, efficiency, productivity and environmental responsibility.

Results of parts two and three in the Nature of Work in 2006 series examine personalization of the office and ergonomics, and will be unveiled in August 2006 and September 2006, respectively. Past survey results on productivity in the workplace, technology used in meetings, employee organization and storage, as well as weekend work are available on Steelcase's Web site at .

About Steelcase Inc.

Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, helps people have a better work experience by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. The company designs and manufactures architecture, furniture and technology products. Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) serves customers through a network of more than 800 independent dealers and approximately 13,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2006 revenue was $2.9 billion. Learn more at .

SOURCE Steelcase

Sara Whitman for Steelcase, +1-212-931-6121,


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