You get your news online from the publishers and people you trust. Technology enables you to do what you do so naturally you keep up to date with the latest tech developments on your iPad. You’re regularly checking at least one social network where you follow friends as well as clients and partners. Your email never stops and your main company phone number is a mobile one – where people can reach you for work and play. Sound all too familiar?

Well, we put it to the test and asked UK business owners how they were coping with ever-evolving technology and how they feel about its impact on their personal lives.

Our study shows that small businesses feel that they are mastering technology and find it manageable, with 89% stating that as the case. Reliance on, and the access we have to, technology has certainly given us huge opportunities to better connect with customers and partners and, as we all know, when you love what you do, you go the extra mile. But it comes at the price of being ‘always on’. In our study, business owners told us that they have trouble ‘switching off’ (38%) with many others finding that working during their ‘off duty’ time is intrusive on their personal lives (37%).

Here are some of the other findings our study turned up:

  • Masters of technology. The majority of SMEs (61%) keep up to date with technology recognising its importance for their business compared with just 14% who don’t. Reliability is more important that being bang up to date for almost half (46%)
  • Slave to smartphones. 64% of respondents have either made or received work related communications in a setting where it may not be appropriate such as when in the cinema, at a museum or in a quiet train carriage. In fact, SME owners are so connected to their technology that 25% regularly get accused of not being able to relax or wind down, followed by another 24% who admitted that if they go for too long without checking their work emails and messages they start to feel anxious. On holiday, 85% of SMEs are guilty of checking work emails, highlighting their inability to switch off
  • Future investment. When it comes to making future investment in technology, 59% of SMEs currently plan to significantly invest in the near future, either to purchase new equipment or upgrade what they have. 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.

While SMEs might be getting to grips with new or complicated technologies and trusting it to help them do better business, it’s easy to see how it can become overwhelming always being on.

Infographic: SMEs are masters of technology but slaves to smartphones

Hiscox Infographic: SMEs are masters of technology but slaves to smartphones

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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.