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Wireless tech may hinder workers' breaks

The office of 2020 may allow for more job flexibility, but vacations may not offer a true break from employment pressures, study says.

In the future, you may not have to work at the office, but that doesn't mean you won't have to work as much.

That's the upshot of a report released on Wednesday by staffing firm OfficeTeam. The firm's "Office of the Future: 2020" study concluded that the future office will be increasingly mobile, with technology enabling employees to perform their jobs from virtually anywhere.

But 42 percent of executives polled in the report said they believe employees will be working more hours in the next 10 to 15 years. Only 9 percent said employees would be working fewer hours.

"Technology will continue to reshape the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business," Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, said in a statement. "As a result, flexibility and adaptability will be sought-after attributes in employees at all levels."

OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation's 1,000 largest companies, and conducted interviews with sources such as workplace and technology experts.

Between 1977 and 2002, average work hours increased, according to the Families and Work Institute. Along with longer hours have come more flexible work arrangements. Even so, a growing number of workers favor time off rather than a raise, according to a study published earlier this year.

Greater employee emphasis on life outside of work may have contributed to a decline between 2001 and 2004 in the average number of hours put in by production workers in software publishing.

Among other findings of the OfficeTeam report is a prediction that telecommuting will become more commonplace. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years, the report said.

In addition, vacations may not be the getaways they've been historically. "With the proliferation of wireless technology, staff will be expected to remain in close contact with the office while they're away," the report said. "Eighty-six percent of executives surveyed said workers will be more connected to the office while on vacation in the future."