A new Harris Interactive business-travel poll of more than 2,000 working Americans conducted for a webcasting and virtual-events firm is bound to generate comments around the water cooler and perhaps prompt discussions in the boardroom.

Nearly all of those responding to the online survey for ON24, Inc. (94%) believe "bad behaviors” happen when employees leave home to attend conventions and trade shows, while 71% think business travelers drink too much alcohol.

 “These results illustrate that Americans believe their work-life balance is out of whack,” said Denise Persson, chief marketing officer for ON24, which provides interactive, cloud-based solutions, “and that fuels their growing dislike for business travel, their resentment and their desire for control of their own lives and how they spend their time.”

The survey was divided into three components to examine attitudes on work, its impact on Americans’ lives, and the virtual alternatives available. ON24 notes that three 3-day conferences a year over the course of a 40-year career add up to a full year spent on business travel.

Other survey highlights showed that:

  • Most of those polled (91%) believe too much time away from home due to work has consequences, including 75% citing increased stress and 70% saying it can result in a failed marriage or relationship.  
  • Excessive business travel also was seen as the cause of health problems (63%), rebellious kids (54%) and increased probability of extramarital affairs (45%), with women more likely than men to say so (48% vs. 42%).
  • Other bad behaviors cited included spending too much money (54%), eating fatty foods (53%), not sticking to exercise routine (43%), going to bed late (42%) and taking illicit drugs (31%). 

The survey also showed that 85% of the respondents believe work infringes on their personal time – with long hours (55%) seen as the chief culprit, along with working weekends/overtime (54%), employers demanding more in a poor economy (49%), business calls or e-mails while not at work (49%), and easy access through smartphones and tablets (34%).
“We have found that business travel can bring out the worst in us,” according to Persson. “But it’s these travel nightmares that make some of the best comedy. 

ON24 is showcasing five comedians talking about its survey findings as part of the “Your Time, Your Life, Go Virtual” Comedy Contest.  People can watch and vote for their favorite comedy sketch and be eligible for prizes by going to http://comedycontest.on24.com.

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