While it's no surprise that employees admit to logging in after hours and on vacation, new data reveals they're increasingly using their personal tablets to maintain a work/life balance. According to survey results from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, more than 60 percent of tablet owners even admit to powering on their tablet during vacations to check in with the office or do work.
Tablets represent the latest device to bridge the worlds of both home and office, in part because of their convenience, ease of use and portability. About 80 percent of tablet owners say they enjoy an improved work/life balance because of the technology and cite the following business benefits: Increased productivity (almost 60 percent of survey respondents say they get more work done using a tablet), centralized communication (more than 40 percent said staying connected with colleagues and clients was the primary motivator for buying a tablet) and ease of use (about 75 percent of tablet users check email, and one-third review and edit documents on their devices.)
The No. 1 motivator for owning a tablet (at more than 90 percent) is the convenience of portability. Being able to tuck a tablet into a portfolio or small bag was more important than the ability to video conference, the device's operating system, or easy access to office email and VPNs. Convenience was so important to survey respondents that they also admitted using a tablet in bed (78 percent), in the bathroom (35 percent) and at a restaurant (30 percent).
With the rise of tablets being used as a business device, there is concern about security. As with any device, Staples recommends good security and data protection practices to guard against data loss or malware. Currently, two-thirds of tablet owners do not regularly back up data on their devices. With the advent of hosted cloud services, data can be stored on a remote server rather than on the tablet. This way, if the device is lost or stolen, work documents and other data are not at risk. Tablet users should also install and update security software. Less than 15 percent of those surveyed have installed encryption or anti-virus software on their tablets.
"Tablets offer fantastic convenience and a better work/life balance, making it easy for employees to keep information with them and utilize business apps, no matter where they go. For employers, the benefit is having a more productive workforce that's always connected to what's happening at the office," said Ed Ludwigson, vice president and general manager for Staples Technology Solutions, the technology products and services division of Staples Advantage.
This year, a multitude of tablet models have been introduced into the market, 95 percent of which are being used as a supplemental device to a laptop/PC, according the Staples survey. However, more than 60 percent of current tablet owners think tablets will someday serve as their primary computing device. Staples Advantage conducted an online survey, with responses from more than 200 tablet users at companies of various sizes and across industries. The survey was conducted in June 2011 and asked participants questions about their perceptions of tablets, business uses and impact on productivity.