A new study conducted by world class IT firm, Cisco, has showed that small business owners in Nigeria cannot afford to be away from the office for long.
Instead, many prefer to make the most of work and personal time by working remotely. On the average, they plan to spend 18 days working this summer.
The study is a far cry from that of their counterpart in the developed economy, who have planned to stay away from their busy day-day work agenda this summer.
According to the new Cisco WebEx survey of small business owners, fifteen percent of those surveyed intend to work remotely 36 days or more while almost half of small business owners plan to work remotely for at least two weeks before the summer is out, the survey showed.
The study, which revealed that most Nigerian small business owners do not consider holidaying said that “summer or not, nearly one-fourth (23 per cent) of the respondents said their companies rely on telecommuting, and more than one in 10 (13 per cent) reimburse employees when they buy laptops, mobile phones or tablets.
The Cisco report further disclosed that many respondents prefer working remotely to avoid hassles and inconveniences often associated with traditional office meetings stressing that “respondents claim their biggest pet peeves about in-person meetings are that they run longer than planned (29 per cent), and are hard to organize because of conflicting schedules (25 per cent).
The survey was conducted for Cisco by Wakefield Research between June 6 and June 14 2012, involving the owners of businesses with 100 or fewer employees and with a poll margin error of 4.4 per cent.
According to Cisco Business Development Manager, Emerging Africa, Bola Adegbonmire “The survey results demonstrate the extent to which telephone and video conferencing have become ingrained in the work habits of small business owners, since nearly half of the survey respondents say traditional, in-person meetings are becoming less relevant.”, He added, “It’s clear small business owners need to stay ‘connected’ to the office , even during the summer vacation season, and so we are giving our customers in Nigeria the tools to not only meet, but also easily and efficiently manage content relevant for those meetings wherever they happen to be.”
He disclosed that in-line with that Cisco is introducing the New Cisco Solutions, which offer more ways to collaborate and makes it easier for people to collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device Cisco.
Ideal for remote workers, the new solutions, focused on unified communication, a next generation of online meetings, as well as social collaboration.
He said that it include the Cisco Unified Communications (UC) Release 9.0 explaining that the new Cisco Unified Communications Manager feature called Extend and
Connect works with Cisco Jabber is designed to bring any third-party phone including phones at hotels, airports, convention centers, or even far-flung places like offshore oil rigs into the Cisco UC environment.
Adegbonmire said, “with Extend and Connect, telecommuters and business travelers can simply input the phone number of their preferred voice device into a Jabber client running on their Windows PC, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager will route all voice traffic directly to that phone number. This allows the worker to use any third-party phone - old or new, analog, digital or IP - but get the experience of using a full-featured enterprise phone, so they can enjoy all the communications services they have at the office while they’re on the road, such as presence, IM and click-to-call”.
He added: the “Extend and Connect can maintain excellent voice quality at all times without being dependent upon the quality of the broadband link.
On the Next Generation Cisco WebEx Meetings, he noted that the solution “give workers an easy way to collaborate directly from Web applications they use every day. The enhanced Cisco WebEx Meetings Spaces help users manage the complete meeting lifecycle, including preparations, conducting and following up on meetings. This includes easily accessing and collaborating on files and presentations in the cloud from their PC or mobile device in real time, scheduling meetings and share agendas, notes, action items, recordings and any other relevant documents at anytime”.
The solution, he said has an integrated instant messaging client as well as two-way HD video and Voice over IP (VoIP) on mobile devices adding that the “WebEx Meeting Spaces are delivered through the Cisco WebEx cloud with Enterprise-grade security, as well as high availability and scalability levels”.
Adegbonmire explained that the Cisco WebEx Meetings have been downloaded for mobile devices more than three million times, and on average 31 million people attend a WebEx meeting per month saying that Cisco recently said it was extending the reach and appeal of WebEx Meetings by introducing a free version, which supports up to three attendees in a meeting.
“In today’s supply-chain driven economy, communication and collaboration across teams and companies are key. Also, employees are asking for solutions for mobility and collaboration, while companies are looking for cost-efficient ways to make such technologies available.
With the start of summer, mobility is becoming even more important for employees. Latest solutions in communication and allow business people in Nigeria to stay connected, be able to participate in meetings, take decisions without delay, whilst giving them the flexibility to work anywhere, from multiple devices.” said Adegbonmire.