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Putting mobile phones to work for you

Putting mobile phones to work for you

If you’re looking at options for integrating smartphones into your business plan, you’re not alone. A 2008 study by Access Markets International (AMI) found 31 percent of U.S. small businesses (those with fewer than 99 employees) were using smartphones for e-mail accessibility, mobile calendaring and contacts. And 20 percent of small businesses using smartphones planned to buy a new one within the year, while 11 percent of business owners were planning to join the smartphone revolution for the first time.

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.

Take electronics retailer Best Buy for example: Business Week recently profiled a Best Buy worker who takes conference calls while hunting! This is part of the company’s results-oriented work environment, which allows employees to work wherever and whenever they want – so long as they complete their work. According to the story, the company saw a 35 percent boost in productivity after adopting the new approach.

If this newfound freedom means employees will spend more time in the car, the Sticky Pad helps keep their phone within arm’s reach. The Emergency Cell Phone Charger helps employees be prepared to take the call, whatever the circumstances.

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 the additional flexibility, provide logo’d cell phone holders 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 spa gift set or a handy golf kit with new phones.

Assessing the options
Mission Critical Wireless, a 4imprint customer, has seen the growing demand for smartphone services. The Lincolnshire, IL, 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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