To be sure, professionals also are tapping newer tools like instant messaging, social media, audio, and web conferencing, according to the report, "How We Work: Communication Trends of Business Professionals." In fact, 64% of those surveyed used instant messaging; 61% tapped social media; 58% texted; and 54% spoke via video conference. In addition, 69% participated in audio conferences and 67% joined a web conference, the report said.
"[The study] shows that, given the demands of work today, professionals are essentially creating communication tool belts that allow them to pick the right tool at the right time," said Clay Hausmann, VP of corporate marketing at Plantronics. "Video, voice, and text-based communications all have a role, as does social media, and one isn't growing at the expense of another. The pace of innovation around new communication technologies is astounding, and yet it is the end user who ultimately decides which technology will play a key role in their business communication and for what purpose."
Business users rely on a mix of technologies, with many preferring phone and audio conferences to convey complex information or collaborate; video and web conferences for brainstorming and planning; email for checking in and status reports; instant messaging for simple queries and presence information; texts for uncomplicated, time-sensitive information; and social media for networking and news updates, Plantronics said.
In the study, 83% said email is critical or very important to their overall success and productivity, and 81% said the same thing about the telephone.
Professionals also depend on technology to enable telecommuting and flexible schedules: in fact, 90% of those polled spend at least some time working off-site, with almost 30% working away from their offices for at least half their time. However, 46% spent 75% or more of their time working on-site, the study found.
Plantronics surveyed 1,800 employees at companies with more than 100 employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, and Australia. The research was conducted in May and June of 2010.