The time saved by small businesses that use mobile devices in their day-to-day activities is equivalent to $67.5 billion (about £40.2bn or au$71.8bn) a year, according to a study conducted by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. Smartphones save organizations the most time at 1.24 billion hours per year, which amounts to $32.3 billion (about £19.2bn or au$34.3bn).

Ninety-four percent of small businesses report using smartphones to conduct business, up from 85% last year, according to the survey’s findings. Forty-nine percent of small business employees are using their smartphones to conduct business seven days a week. Tablets have helped save small businesses an additional 754.2 million hours and $19.6 billion (about £11.7bn or au$20.9bn) a year. The increased usage of smartphones and tablets by small businesses has impacted data usage, with approximately one-third of small businesses reporting that their mobile data usage double over the past two years.

Mobile apps save 599.5 million hours and $15.6 billion (about £9.3bn or au$16.6bn) a year, according to the study. More than half of small businesses use mobile applications, the majority of which estimate they save $500 (about £298 or au$532)a month by using the apps. The use of mobile apps by small businesses has increased by 65% the past two years. Seventy-seven percent of businesses that use mobile apps use three or more apps, the most common of which provide remote document access, travel planning, and banking/finance management.

Mobile SMBs

Productivity benefits gained by enabling remote and mobile working has been reported as worth potentially $7,000 (about £4,200 or au$7,497) annually for every staff member as a result of reduced printing costs and allowing businesses to make more efficient use of space. However, when asked, only 36% of British workers say they feel they would be just as productive working from home as they are in the office, while 23% think they would actually be able to get more done in their own home.

The 2014 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll was conducted with 1,042 small businesses from 48 states and the District of Columbia. Small businesses were defined as having between one and 20 employees.