New breed of road warriors

Technology to assist business owners and their staff work remotely is booming. Phones and devices that allow entrepreneurs to access and respond to email are substantially changing the way entrepreneurs work. Many businesses are now providing staff with internet enabled phones and expect people to constantly be on-call.

A recent report from Sensis on the online experience of 1800 small and medium businesses shows that the use of internet phones has doubled in the past year, with 36% of businesses now owning them.

Interestingly, the penetration has been considerably stronger in medium-sized businesses (35%) than small businesses (10%).

About one-fifth of the SMEs polled have an in-car or hand-held satellite navigation device. And VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is used by 17% of SMEs.

The business owners say the new devices allow them to better balance work and life and have flexibility outside the office. Half say they would never give them up and they never turn them off. BlackBerrys are particularly popular with the young but taper off for people over 40. Owners of internet phones say the two primary reasons they use them is to respond to emails and to work away from the office.

The big drawback is that it intrudes on people’s personal lives.

When asked about the drawbacks of BlackBerrys, 20% complained that it cut into their personal life and 11% did not like the constant calls and emails.

See today’s Top Story: Technology and the business traveller

Win a BlackBerry: Go into the draw.


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