smb-tech-trendsIt’s thumbs up for mobile devices among small and mid-size businesses who employ them for remote workers to stay connected to the office wherever they are. A recent survey conducted by Sage North America of 490 small and midsized businesses indicated that four out of five or 85 percent who use remote devices feel that they have had a positive impact on productivity; only one percent felt the effect was negative.

Mobile device use among small and mid-size business decision makers indicated smartphones at 81 percent and laptops at 80 percent are the most common devices used remotely by employees to access work- related information. Tablet use is 57 percent. Among the most common mobile applications used to carry out business functions, keeping business contacts organized topped the list at 31 percent. Scheduling came in second at 26 percent and keeping a task list and/or assigning tasks to specific employees followed at 23 percent.

The “Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices” also indicated that nearly half (48 percent) of the companies have a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy in place; 31 percent have not considered the option. Another 9 percent say they have considered the option but decided against BYOD for their businesses.

Mind your mobile device manners

The adoption of mobile devices among small businesses to enable employees to ‘work anywhere’ raises the issue of mobile etiquette.  Recently I shared my views with Small Business Trends about the need for small business owners to provide guidelines for team members about exhibiting professionalism when using mobile phones as well as staying safe.  Here are a few of my recommendations from “10 Rules of Mobile Etiquette for Small Businesses.”

Move 10 feet away if you must make a call: Ideally you don’t want to interrupt face-to-face conversation with someone else. But if you must, excuse yourself and explain why the call can’t wait. Then move to a location – some say at least 10 feet – where you can respect the personal space of others.

Avoid checking smartphones in meetings: This applies to visually checking for text messages, emails and missed calls, or listening to voicemails.  Checking your mobile phone distracts you from giving your full attention to the meeting at hand. It may be construed among other attendees that you find the people in the meeting to be boring or unimportant – certainly not the message you want to convey.

Ditch the wild ringtone: Want to convey professionalism – ditch the acid rock ringtone. This might sound funny but your ringtones say a lot about you. When it comes to business, keep it that way and pick discreet ring tones.

Plan for good reception: If you know you will be spending time on the phone while you are out of the office, check to make sure you’ll get good mobile phone coverage in the area. Nothing disrupts your ability to create rapport on an important business call more than when you keep hearing, “Could you repeat that? You broke up there.”  As part of our Small Business Saturday social media activities this past year, we asked people to share their stories of the strangest places that they had conducted business calls.  We had some crazy answers posted ranging from the top of Mt. Fuji, to a hospital emergency room, to the top of a petrified tree.  This demonstrates all the more reason to be aware of reception and also, hopefully be armed with a headset to keep you hands-free.

Read the rest of my mobile etiquette tips and let me know if you have any others to add.