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Putting mobile phones to work for youHeather

Putting mobile phones to work for you

If you’re looking at options for integrating smartphones into your business plan, you’re not alone. Over the past year, smartphone penetration has nearly doubled in Canada, from 12 to 21 percent, according to a study by TNS Canadian Facts released in April. Small businesses are among those embracing the exploding technology, and taking advantage of the ability to e-mail and update calendars and contacts while on the go.

You may be asking yourself: What’s all the excitement about? What can you expect when integrating smartphones into your business operations? Here’s the scoop:

Staff freedom
One of the big benefits mobile devices carry with them is that staff can be freed from being in the office, while still maintaining productivity.

Want proof? The May issue of Profit magazine points to an Ipsos Reid survey that found BlackBerry users convert 250 hours of downtime a year into productive time. And, they take care of 2,500 time-sensitive e-mails and 1,200 phone calls annually while away from the office, translating into $5,000 worth of extra output – all while lounging by a pool, for all you know.

If this freedom means your employees will spend more time outside the office, use the opportunity to build your brand and outfit employees with logo’d easy care shirts.

Workspace flexibility
In the office, equipping employees with mobile phones (and laptops) allows them to stay connected from anywhere in the office, rather than being tied to a specific desk or cubicle. This flexibility can be space-saving, allowing several employees to use the same work station throughout the day.

Additionally, mobile devices can provide web access without WiFi, thus creating additional flexibility. To help employees take advantage of being unchained from their desks, provide logo’d portfolios and laptop bags to those who will be ‘on the move.’

24/7 culture
Freedom and flexibility do come with a price. Workers who are connected via smartphones often say it can be difficult to truly leave work. Instead of unplugging and recharging their mental batteries after hours, smartphone users may find themselves checking e-mail round-the-clock.

If ‘smartphones for all’ is on your horizon, it’s important to establish expectations, so employees can use the smartphone to their advantage AND get some much-needed time away from work. Remind employees it is okay to unplug and relax by distributing the luxury spa kit or golf balls and tees with new phones.

Assessing the options
Mission Critical Wireless, a 4imprint customer, has seen the growing demand for smartphone services. The wireless consulting firm helps businesses get the most out of mobile by identifying opportunities for cost savings, productivity increases and heightened security.

“We work with our clients to show them what the capabilities are of their wireless solution,” said Dan Croft, President and CEO of Mission Critical Wireless. “Many companies don’t take full advantage of the benefits or scope of their implemented solution, so we ensure they maximize its capabilities.”

In fact, many companies say mobile solutions provide a competitive advantage. They often look for smartphone applications that go beyond the basics to supply chain management, customer relationship management and more. Whether you use an outside vendor or conduct your research internally, look for smartphone applications that make it easier to do business.

That is when you’ll know you’re getting more out of mobile.

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