Have you become a master of technology but slave to your work?

By: Tim Gibbon

Date: 25 February 2013

Have you become a master of technology but slave to your work?/woman on the phone with laptop{{}}Small and medium-sized enterprise owners (SMEs) are proficient at using technology, but unable to switch off in their personal lives, according to research from business insurer Hiscox.

The research was conducted between 28 November and 6 December 2012 and surveyed 1,030 businesses. It suggests that 89% of SMEs have mastered the use of technology, but are slaves to smartphones. The research also suggests that 38% of SME owners have difficulty switching off and 37% find working off duty hours intrusive upon their personal lives.

The online survey by Opinium reviewed how businesses are using technology and how although they are using it better to manage their businesses; they are not able to control the impact that it has on their personal lives. 85% of respondents admitted to checking their work emails while on holiday. 

"Our research confirms what we already know from working closely with them; SMEs are constantly connected to their workplace, incredibly tech savvy and committed to their business," explains Alan Thomas, small business insurance expert at Hiscox.

Interestingly, 59% of survey respondents plan to either purchase new equipment or upgrade existing equipment as an investment in technology in the near future (61% keep up-to-update with technology). From these technology investors, 35% plan to do so in the next 12 months compared with 25 percent who plan to do so in the next two-three years. 10% of SMEs were found to relish new technology and generally upgrade equipment as soon as it becomes available.

"As SMEs seek to keep their business running at all times, the option to clock off at 5pm is fast diminishing and being 'switched on' is becoming a normal way of life. Thanks to the reliance on and access to technology, SMEs have become masters of technology but slaves to their work, and it's no surprise they are leading a lifestyle where they are 'always on'," added Thomas.

Given that SMEs are closer and influence the day-to-day management of their businesses on a more intimate level, it’s no surprise these factors have such an impact for them.  This can be compounded when SMEs are home workers when it is thought that temptation to be distracted often turns out to be the opposite.  

Tim Gibbon is a director at communications consultancy Elemental and tweets @elementalcomms and @timgibbon @smponline

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