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How Dilbert Becomes a 'Knowledge Worker'

Ipsos Public Affairs evaluated how typical office technology is used, how its use has changed over the past five years, and trends among today's "knowledge workers." In 2007, now even the infamous Dilbert may use a BlackBerry or other smartphone.

Ipsos interviewed 711 knowledge workers across the United States by telephone. The interviews took an average of 17 minutes to complete. Here are some of the key findings:

- The biggest personal impact of technology in the workplace is identified as connectivity: almost all knowledge workers (85 percent) say that having constant access to technology means that they are always reachable.

- 92 percent of knowledge workers read, send, make or take work-related communications in non-work situations.

- 73 percent have kept their communications device(s) on the weekend.

- Just under half (45 percent) still tune in to the office while on vacation.

Knowledge workers are even thinking about work in social situations: more than half (55 percent) have communicated about work while spending time with their friends and family and a fifth (20 percent) have interrupted a date for work purposes.

One in 20 (6 percent) have been known to ignore pleas to switch off their mobile devices before the beginning of a concert or play. The boundaries for when it is appropriate to communicate about work are most blurred for BlackBerry and PDA users.

Nine in ten (91 percent) owners of these devices say they are 'always' contactable about work and they are much more likely to talk with or email clients or colleagues in non-work situations such as when they are on vacation (73 percent compared to 45 percent) or on a date (39 percent compared to 20 percent).

Knowledge workers say that when working at home, the copier is the most missed piece of office equipment. Eighty-six percent say it's essential but 36 percent of those who require one don't have access to a copier at home.

Therefore, perhaps in 2007 Dilbert will buy one of those multifunction printer/copier devices so that he can print his important office documents at home. Then again, maybe not.

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