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LONDON, England -- Business travelers are spending less time away from home and the latest technology is allowing them to do it, according to a recent UK survey.
For the first time in three years the time executives spend on the road decreased, to two and a half days a week -- a drop of seven percent -- with a quarter of workers traveling less than they were a year ago.
The study, which took in the views of 1,500 British executives, showed that half (51 percent) of those traveling less say that remote access and virtual private networking (VPN) is helping them to do so.
These tools are allowing executives to review corporate material remotely, either at home or at another destination, and are therefore reducing the need to return to the office.
"A quarter of business travelers (also) claim their health is suffering due to time spent away from home," says Tim Carlier of Barclaycard, the banking firm who conducted the survey.
Another innovation affecting UK businesses is the use of video-conferencing, which helped a third of workers to travel less -- a huge increase from one percent last year.
"I am sure we will see further penetration by such tools and innovations over the next few years," Carlier says.
Although the survey found that the majority of those unaffected by technology believe you still cannot replace face-to-face meetings.
Only the lonely
The survey also found that 44 percent of businessmen say they felt lonely when on the road, but only 18 percent are concerned that they eat alone in hotel restaurants.
For women, 47 percent felt lonely, and 34 percent were worried about eating on their own.
Of the respondents who said they traveled less (25 percent), 18 percent said it was because they wanted a better work-life balance, while only 13 percent cited cost as the main factor.
According to the survey the typical male business traveler is aged between 41 and 65. He is also married with children and has a managerial position. On average he travels for business 2.6 days per week and is away for 4.3 nights a month.
The typical female business traveler is also married, but younger in age -- 31 to 40 years old and is less likely to have children than her male counterpart. She travels two days per week and is away on business -- on average -- for 3.2 nights a month.