ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Bosses Nowadays Type Their Own Letters, Messages

CORPORATE managers used to press a button and an efficient private secretary would appear to take a message, type a letter, distribute a memo, or perform a myriad of other chores. No longer. It has become a do-it-yourself operation for most bosses.

''Now even very senior-level people have to handle their own calls through voice mail, type their own correspondence on their PC [personal computer], and communicate with their colleagues through e-mail,'' notes Joelyn Cecere, senior vice president at Drake Beam Morin Inc., an outplacement and career consulting firm based in New York.

New technologies in the workplace have shifted such chores to the job for managers, she holds. ''I've heard from major companies that e-mail and voice mail alone have cut their support staff costs by 10 percent.''

Public relations firms say 'no' to tobacco

PUBLIC relations firms, renowned in the movies for being hard-boiled, apparently draw the line at pushing cigarettes.

A survey of 35 PR firms around the country found that two-thirds would refuse to represent tobacco firms.

The survey, by Lobsenz-Stevens, a New York City PR firm, also found that about half would take on such social issues as right-to-life and pro-choice groups, and 86 percent would take on political issues.

The rise in videoconferencing gives hotels an opportunity

INCREASED use of videoconferencing could result in a 2 percent drop in hotel-room demand and revenues over the next three years.

But hoteliers who invest in videoconferencing facilities could profit from the trend, according to a quarterly research report by Coopers & Lybrand L.L.P., the international professional-services firm.

''Whereas until recently videoconferencing was primarily an enhancement to telephone calls, more companies are now using it for small group meetings, and more are investing in their own facilities,'' says Bjorn Hanson, the firm's national hospitality chairman.

Improved technology and falling prices have also contributed to the popularity of videoconferencing.

The more prevalent it becomes, the greater the demand will be for better technology, services to support videoconferences, and remote connections. Although many firms purchase their own units, they are also likely to use in-house and off-site facilities for traveling staff or to meet demand, according to Coopers & Lybrand.

This is where hotels come in.

They can create a new demand for rooms if they develop videoconferencing facilities, Mr. Hanson says. Hotels are well-positioned to provide the facilities because they offer 24-hour operation, food service, technical support, and a multilingual staff.

''During recessions, most corporations restrict travel, so the demand for videoconferencing should rise,'' he says. ''By taking the initiative and adopting the new technology, the hotel industry will be better able to compete with other providers of videoconferencing facilities.''

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