Helping small business owners stay connected this summer

Microsoft’s Dave Rodgerson discusses how flexible technology is supporting the work/life balance

By Guest on 15 July 2014
Helping small business owners stay connected this summer

It’s summer! For most people that means having the chance to escape on vacation or enjoy a weekend BBQ. There are times however when an important issue can’t be ignored or an opportunity to connect with a client can’t be missed. (I say all of this while working from home in my sunroom enjoying a cool breeze that blows through the window).

This article isn’t so much about the work / life balance – that’s a subject for a whole series if not a book in itself – as it is having the tools which enable how we approach life and work. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, having the ability to stay in touch is critical to their success. So how does that happen?

There are three things that technology delivers that can make it easier to stay connected on your terms, anywhere, anytime:

- Devices

- The cloud

- Network connectivity


Today’s devices, whether it’s a Nokia Lumia or the new Surface Pro 3 offer users not only the flexibility of something that’s compact and portable, they’re also very powerful. If you’re at the cottage or away on business you now have the tools that are just as useful on the road as they are in the work place. This is even more true when you consider how each of these can run on complementary, (and soon with Windows 8.1, identical) operating systems. As well, they have the ability to run all of the Office 365 products for presentations, documents and worksheets.


Wi-fi has become so ubiquitous that we often take it for granted. Most retail and hospitality locations provide wi-fi as a service to enhance the customer experience so it’s easy to find a comfortable spot to be online and enjoy your favorite latte. Even if you’ve taken the path less travelled to go for a hike, a smartphone like the Lumia can give you over six hours of network access.

Connectivity can also mean staying in touch with your team and business contacts. A tool like Microsoft Lync makes it possible for people to collaborate online, sharing not only their conversation but also their computer desktop. Conference calls on the phone just seem so inadequate when you’re discussing the content of a PowerPoint slide. It’s far more effective when everyone can see the same thing on their screen and work together with the same view.

The cloud

Having access to your content when you’re working on a project is critical. When you have access to Microsoft OneDrive on the Azure cloud, not only do you have all of your work in one place, you can get to it from anywhere on any connected device. You can start a presentation on your tablet waiting in the airport and later on, review and update your notes even if you’re using another device. OneDrive also makes it easier to collaborate on work when other members of the team contribute their content from remote locations or different times of day. It’s all in one place, consistently available and changes are tracked for everyone to see.

With all these advances it is easier to get work done when you’re on the go. Hopefully that doesn’t mean more work on your vacation as much as it does making things easier when you are on the job.

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