On or off duty: SMEs are masters of tech but slaves to Smartphones

      On or off duty: SMEs are masters of tech but slaves to Smartphones

  PR Newswire

  LONDON, February 12, 2013

LONDON, February 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Hiscox research reveals:

              - 89% of SMEs have mastered the use of technology

                - 38% of SMEs have difficulty 'switching off'

 - 37% find working during 'off duty' hours intrusive on their personal lives

Despite winning the battle against potentially confusing technology in the
workplace, small business owners are feeling overwhelmed by the intrusion it
causes in their personal lives, according to new research from specialist
business insurer Hiscox.

The study analysed how UK business owners were coping with the ever-changing
technology landscape and how they are handling the impact on their personal
lives as they seek to keep up with changes. Positively, 89% of those surveyed
felt they have mastered the use of technology in their business, finding it
manageable. However, when it comes to their personal lives 38% admitted they
have difficulty 'switching off' and work even when they shouldn't be,
negatively impacting on their private lives.

Alan Thomas, small business insurance expert at Hiscox , comments on the
findings: "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'".

"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."

Findings from the research:

Masters of technology

The majority of respondents (61%) keep up to date with technology recognising
the importance of it in their business compared with 14% who don't. More
importantly, almost half (46%) would rather have something reliable that works
even if it's not the latest piece of equipment, followed by a quarter (26%)
who only upgrade and update when absolutely necessary. 23% feel they need to
adopt technology to compete and make that investment where they can and 11%
find it difficult to keep up with the latest available technology due to the
costs involved in buying the new technology and training staff. This is in
contrast with only 10% of respondents who generally upgrade their equipment
with new technology as soon as it's available.

When it comes to future investments in technology, 59% of respondents
currently plan to significantly invest in technology in the near future,
either to purchase new equipment or upgrade existing equipment. Of these, 35%
plan to do so in the next 12 months compared with 25% who plan to do so in the
next two-three years.

Slaves to Smartphones

The research shows that SME owners are maintaining an 'always on' attitude
when it comes to their business, working even when they shouldn't be with 64%
having made or received work related communications when it may not be
appropriate, such as when in the cinema, at a museum or in a quiet train
carriage. As this lifestyle becomes the norm, more SME owners (74%) feel they
don't have to hide the fact that they're working when they shouldn't be, from
those around them, compared to 17% who feel they do. As a result, 37% said
they found work intrusive on their personal lives (compared with 23% who did
not). The most common way of hiding that they were working was claiming to be
doing something else (40%), followed by working while others think they are
asleep (35%), taking a phone call relating to work but pretending it wasn't
(23%) and claimed to be going somewhere else while actually going to work

Small business owners are so connected to their technology that they are
regularly accused of not being able to relax or wind down (25%), followed by
another 24% who admitted that if they go for too long without checking their
work emails / messages they start to feel anxious. However, unsurprisingly
while on holiday 85% of SME's are guilty of checking their work emails
highlighting their inability to switch off.

Notes to editors

About the research

The online survey, conducted by Opinium, interviewed 1,030 business leaders
(owner managers, proprietors, managing directors, board level directors /
partners, and directors) in SMEs with up to 249 employees in the UK, between
28 November - 6 December 2012.

About Hiscox UK

Hiscox offers a range of business insurance policies to cover the liabilities
and property risks of small businesses and consultants in the UK, as well as
profession-specific policies that you can tailor to suit the risks that your
business faces. Hiscox also provides specialist insurance cover for homes
and their contents, valuables and collections.

For more information, visit http://www.hiscox.co.uk

About Hiscox

Hiscox, headquartered in Bermuda, is an international specialist insurance
group listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main
underwriting parts of the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe
and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites mainly
internationally traded business in the London Market - generally large or
complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the
international licences of Lloyd's. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range
of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as
high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in
Bermuda, Guernsey and USA.

For further information, visit http://www.hiscox.com

Contact: Hiscox Ltd: Vicki Morley, +44(0)20-7448-6619,
Vicki.Morley@HISCOX.com; Prosek Partners: Laura Thorburn, +44(0)203-440-5803,
lthorburn@prosek.com; Saira Khan, +44(0)203-440-5804, skhan@prosek.com
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