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Traditional office hours are becoming irrelevant, as European execs adopt a more mobile work culture. A study conducted for Intel by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that the vast majority (74 per cent) think the nine-to-five-routine is no longer relevant, and are as productive working outside the office as they are in it. Mike Bonello, Intel's mobile marketing manager, said the results of the study reflect the fundamental shift in the mindset of business workers.

This shift has been helped by the wide adoption of mobile technology: 82 per cent of respondants said they already used a laptop, with another 13 per cent planning to switch in the next year. Executives are also happier to be mobile because the roll out of wireless hotspots means they can still be online.

Also significant is the changing nature of the working day. The average day is longer, and more fragmented, the survey found. Respondants said they spent up to a third of each day out of the office, and that in the next two years, they expect this proportion will increase.

Andrew Palmer of the Economist Intelligence Unit said that the findings reflected a trend to more autonomous working. This, he argued, is dictated by the need to work across time zones and geographies. "In the coming years, we are likely to see even more changes to working habits as companies move towards a more decentralised and flexible work force," he noted.

The research shows that this geographical spead means most executives (61 per cent) work as part of a virtual team. Many (37 per cent) say their main contacts at work are remote colleagues. ®

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