Want to find the best local happy hours? There’s an app for that. Want to see if you can get those shoes on sale? There’s an app for that. Want to track finances, manage employees, and access CRM at all hours of the day? There are apps for that, too.
More and more small businesses are taking advantage of mobile technology as way to gain an edge on the competition. Working from your iPhone means your business never really closes, and conventional wisdom says more hours clocked equals more tasks completed equals greater productivity. Using mobile tech, employees can work from the comfort of their home, which saves on travel expenses. Payment apps ensure transactions can be completed anytime, anywhere, which boosts sales. Managers can update Facebook and Twitter accounts on the go, or chat with querying customers from their beach house.
Last year, an AT&T study revealed that 72 percent of the businesses it surveyed use mobile technology regularly, and 38 percent claim they would simply die without it.
But despite all the hype, there are drawbacks to consider before making the office an optional workplace. Primarily, more time doesn’t guarantee more results. The key to getting things done is working smarter, not longer. Working from home and being able to access info from any location at any time opens the door to distraction and procrastination. Checking your email and employee locations every five minutes takes up valuable time, with no significant output.
Mobility also blurs the line between work life and personal life. Ever been scolded for taking a business call at the dinner table? Being constantly connected to work is taxing, eating up time that could be used to build fulfilling social relationships. Ultimately, that makes for less motivated, more tired, and less productive workers.
63 percent of small business owners report personal stress arising from, among other things, working longer hours with less pay. With e-commerce, social media marketing, and the desire for instant gratification generated by hi-speed internet, businesses are under more pressure than ever to be “on” all the time. But does that mean they should be? And what’s the best way to do it?
If you know how to use them, mobile technology apps and devices can be built into your existing business plan to streamline tasks, saving time and money. The key is simply to know where to draw the line. Set a time to stop working, and stick to it from night to night. When you take a vacation or attend a family get together, keep the gadgets off and take advantage of the time to unwind and reconnect with loved ones. Using your time away from the office wisely can result in increased productivity, without the exhaustion.
Tell us how you’ve incorporated mobile technology into your business. How has it helped or hurt you?