by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 01, 2007

chartLiving in the digital age, most people travel with at least one portable device that allows them to keep in touch. To learn about planners’ relationships with their computers and cell phones, M&C conducted an online survey in June. The majority (82 percent) of the 153 people who responded travel with a laptop, and the same percentage reported their companies pay for all on-the-road connection charges.

While it seems like BlackBerry-type devices own the cell-phone world, just 35 percent of those surveyed have a phone that is able to receive e-mail. Almost half (49 percent) of respondents said their organization pays for the monthly charges, while 41 percent pay the bill themselves and 10 percent share the cost with their employers.

When they are attending meetings themselves, 47 percent of planners keep their phones on vibrate during sessions, and 10 percent keep them on vibrate but read or send messages. The other 43 percent turn them off.

chartCell phones allow planners to be reachable all the time, but just 28 percent like being on call. Almost half (47 percent) said that such availability is a necessary evil, and a quarter of respondents dislike being so in touch.

As for e-mail, one-third (32 percent) of planners surveyed said they spend two hours each workday handling their inboxes; the task takes three hours for 29 percent and four hours for 31 percent. A lucky 8 percent said they spend just an hour on the task.

Most see e-mail as a boon: 76 percent said it has facilitated their effectiveness at work. However, 17 percent consider e-mail the bane of their existence, and 11 percent find they waste too much time on it.