It’s one of the seven deadly sins, but that has not stopped office workers around the nation from coveting shiny new gadgets. The iPhone makes people envious; the iPad is heralded by all. Now, a research firm called Captivate Network has conducted a survey to find out which device is the most sought after, and the results are a bit surprising—both for what we want most and what we crave the least. While the results are from companies of all sizes, I talked to Scott Marden, a research director at Captivate, to distill some of the findings down for the small business market.
First, let’s get the big ticket item out of the way first. Marden says, to our surprise, that the most coveted item in the office is... a tablet, not a phone. That’s possibly due to the fact that many employees already have a phone. Another surprise is that small business employees are 24 percent less likely to name the Apple iPad as the coveted tablet than those in a large firm, which means they are open to Android.
A second interesting finding was that small business employees say their most treasured gadget in the office is actually their laptop—that, over a phone or a tablet. With recent reports about nomophobia (the fear of losing your phone, or no-mobile-phobia) being so widespread, that’s surprising.
“Small company employees are 2.5 times more likely to name their laptop as their favorite device. For all personal devices overall, 45 percent of small company employees are using them for business purposes, which is 16 percent higher than large company employees,” says Marden.
The least coveted item in the office, the one that apparently everyone in small business thinks is duller than dried paint, is a GPS device. That’s likely due to that fact that we know there’s an app on our phones for this, and that many newer cars are equipped with GPS navigation these days.
The “do it all” device for small business is, once again, the laptop. However, Marden says tablets are gaining ground. “Many still seek a laptop that can do it all since it can also serve their business needs. Tablets will also begin to grow among small business employees in the near future—64 percent of the small business employees that already have a tablet will bring it into work,” he says.
So what should a small business owner do about gadget envy? The best approach, says Marden, is to stay open minded. “Managing the expectations of employees afflicted with 'gadget envy' is not always easy,” he says. “Technology helps employees balance their work and personal lives, keeps professionals connected to the world outside their office, and can improve employee retention and overall productivity. Small business owners must be open-minded to personal technology in the workplace.”