Telecommuting hit record highs and business travel dropped off dramatically as oil prices surged last summer, according to research firm TNS Global, which conducted two surveys for headset maker Plantronics. An astonishing 48 percent of all knowledge workers telecommuted at least one day per week, up sharply from 35 percent in the same period the previous year. Two-fifths reported cutbacks in travel at their corporations; more than a third said they had cut down on their own business travel.
Beth Johnson, a vice president of marketing at Plantronics, says that though the price of a barrel of oil has plummeted—from an all-time high of US $147 in July to just one-third of that in early January—telecommuting hasn’t fallen, and business travel hasn’t risen. Reason: the miserable shape of the overall economy.
The survey defined knowledge workers broadly to include all full-time office workers who use a computer and common software applications for their daily work.