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Small Business Deploys Army of Wired Road Warriors

Telecommuting and traveling for work has become a way of life for small and medium-size businesses, a new study reports. And it's affecting how we communicate.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of companies polled in the latest  SMB mobility survey by research firm Techaisle  said that one or more of their employees works from home either occasionally or always.

And they’re mobile. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of SMBs report that they have one or more employees who travel for work. Of these, 15 percent always work from home and another 11 percent work from home between 3-5 days a week.

[The Best Smartphones]

Telecommuting has doubled over the past two years and is now an accepted practice at 68 percent of all SMBs, the survey reported. To put that growth in perspective, it took a decade from 2000 to 2009 for telecommuting to double itself to 34 percent.

This growth has been fueled by the adoption of smartphones and tablets , availability of social networking platforms and use of cloud-based applications along with remote managed services. Techaisle said.

SMB employees have been road warriors for a long time; now, they’re becoming wired warriors as well.

When they’re on the road, the survey said, 70 percent of all workers use a notebook, but the device of choice for collaboration and communications is the smartphone (67 percent).

While email remains the preferred way to communicate, SMBs are increasingly taking advantage of applications such as Skype, web conferencing and social networking to communicate with customers, partners and co-workers.  And our communications patterns are changing.

Over the next two years, Techaisle said, the number of SMBs accessing email via PCs is likely to drop by 20 percent while access by smartphone will rise by 13 percent. Similar changes will occur in telephone use, the survey said. Typical desk phone usage over landline is likely to drop by 51 percent while smartphone conversations are expected to rise by 30 percent.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.