Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 5:52pm by Sandy Jones
With the growing industry for technology and the ever-present need for innovation in the business world to increase productivity and adapt to the changes taking place in the economy, it comes as no surprise that business is being taken everywhere. Whether you’re in a car, plane, boat, bus, train, or at a hotel, restaurant, bookstore, coffee shop, or home, business is being conducted all around you on portable devices.
Most major phone companies advertise customized options for businesses that purchase multiple lines for their employees.
- International minutes: Since many companies transact business overseas or internationally, it can be a huge benefit to invest in a plan that provides unlimited international minutes at a price comparable to usage.
- Discounted rates on multiple lines and devices for businesses: If a company decides to purchase cell phones for all their employees, they may be eligible for discounts on the rate as well as the cost of devices per employee.
- Shared data and minutes: Some cell phone companies allow businesses to share data and minutes between their employees. This way, neither resource is wasted and the usage overall is more balanced.
- Consolidated billing: Rather than paying for individual phone lines from various providers, having a group cell phone plan consolidates the billing process and simplifies such matters substantially.
- Shared access to online data: Most shared business plans allow each employee to access important information online simultaneously, even from different places or at different times. The shared account information makes it easier for people to send and receive information, upload and download documents, and process things all in one place.
In addition to the customized features of business plans, mobile phones have improved in technology to allow for improved video chat and conference calls. Furthermore, smartphones offer a plethora of apps for business use including programs that help with money and time management, stock and business monitoring, as well as a way to deposit checks and other information via picture.
Although it seems like the natural place for a tablet would be in the home environment far away from work, a survey done by ChangeWave revealed a surprising strategy among corporations relating to tablets. Nearly 78% of the respondents said their companies intended to purchase Apple iPads for their employees.
The six primary uses of a tablet for work purposes include internet access, checking email, working outside the office, sales support, customer presentations, and laptop replacement. As employees have become better accustomed to using the tools available on the tablets, each area of usage has increased over time.
Popular applications and software have swept through the business world like wildfire, particularly for iPads. A few of the most popular apps resemble regular software, such as iWork (similar to Apple’s office suite), Filemaker Go (database), and Power.ME (task and workflow management).
- External Drives: For those who want to transport tons of storage space without lugging around a 50lb PC, a portable external hard drive is just the right piece of equipment to do the job. With a storage capacity up to two terabytes, you would have a hard time running out of room in the suitcase for packing your work.
- Credit Card Reader: If your business involves a lot of financial transactions (traveling sales persons for example), consider investing in a smartphone credit reader. This nifty device plugs into the earphone jack of your phone and costs about $35 to $50. Financial transactions can be completed on the go so you don’t end up with a stack of checks and a boatload of cash on your person at any given point in time.
- Portable Scanner: Portable scanners come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but a popular version currently available on the market is a dock for the iPad that saves scanned documents directly to the tablet in high-definition. Although this device (and similar full-page scanners) runs between $150 and $200, a cheaper solution is also available. Hand-held wands are smaller and cheaper, about $50 to $100. However, the image quality is much lower than that of the full-sized document scanners. Still, for basic purposes, wands are very handy for taking business outside the office.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 5:31pm by Sandy Jones
As millennials graduate from college and traverse out into the bleak job market, tension can build between millennials and their baby boomer counterparts. With both generations working alongside one another, their differences become apparent and may be a source of hostility and resentment. However, with the economic crisis, neither party necessarily gets the better end of the stick. Millennials and boomers may have to close the generational gap and resign to working together in spite of their varying business strategies.
NPR broadcast a Weekend Edition news story entitled, "For Baby Boomers, The Job Market’s Even Worse," which hones in on how the difficult job market reflects on the baby boomer generation. The unemployment rate for people 55 and older hit 7.2%, which is the highest level ever recorded in the post-World War II era. While that percentage may be lower than it is for young people, baby boomers also seem to be jobless for much longer. Often their unemployment can last upwards of 35 weeks, while jobless workers between 25 to 54 years old are only unemployed for 30 weeks on average. The Pew Economic Policy Group conducted a study which showed that one out of every three unemployed baby boomer workers has gone without a paycheck for more than a year. This may be because, after struggling to find a job, boomers simply retire when the going gets tough, whereas new grads and young professionals can’t afford to give up on their search.
According to the online lifestyle magazine, The Next Great Generation, while baby boomers held fast onto careers switching only when absolutely necessary, millennials expect to move from job to job. Baby boomers were welcomed into the job search with quite a bit more security than millennials, requiring fair wages, benefits, and a pension plan before accepting any job. Millennials can’t afford to be that picky. The recession leaves few jobs available, a lot of jobs are freelance or on a contract basis, and new grads oscillate between jobs simply to pay the bills. While a shocking 66% of millennials are prepared for a career shift at some point during the course of their working lives, 84% of baby boomers are satisfied with staying in the same career for the rest of their lives, as stated by a study conducted by Pew Research Center.
While baby boomers are getting a hang of social media and its use in the work place, millennials grew up with social media. This creates a widely varying extent to which social media is used between the two generations. AccountingWEB’s article, "Social Media Influences on Generational Behavior and Vice Versa," argues that while baby boomers are reluctant to use social media websites for personal information, millennials blur the personal and professional via their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Boomers are wary of privacy infringement, while millennials have been posting status updates and photos from their rowdy vacations for years and well into their time on the workforce. Likewise, millennials are simply more wired into social media in general, using it for everything from party invitations to marketing. When baby boomers do use social media platforms, they keep their personal and professional lives completely separate.
David Mielach of CNBC’s article "Gen Y Seeks Work-Life Balance Above All Else" describes how millennials view their workforce contribution. According to MTV’s "No Collar Workers" study, 92% of millennials feel their company is lucky to have them as an employee, feeling that the company directly benefits from their skills. They do not merely see themselves as a cog in the machine, but a contributing factor to the company at large. They believe that their baby boomer bosses could learn a thing or two from them, that their finesse with social media and technology makes them faster and more astute, and that they have worked hard enough that they are entitled to their dream jobs. To some extent, millennials feel self-entitled because their baby boomer parents raised them as such. Millennials grew up receiving trophies and being told they were special; if they were coddled, only their baby boomer parents are to blame.
When baby boomers had their reign in the job market of the 60′s and 70′s, the work day was eight hours or longer, with a relatively strict emphasis on working from nine to five. Yet, according to Time Magazine’s Moneyland, millennials are working much more flexible hours, often not even in the office. The traditional workday is no longer, with millennials working odd hours, telecommuting, and delegating moments for personal time while at work. More than a third of the millennials reported that they would rather have a pay cut if it meant more flexible working conditions, so the working environment is more important to them than the money they make. Likewise, since millennials are constantly accessible through technology, work doesn’t necessarily stop when they get home. They may still be wired into Facebook or email, where they will continue to work away off the clock. This varies considerably from baby boomers who were able to maintain a separate working life and personal life.
Baby boomers have widened the chasm between themselves and millennials by creating an enormous, global debt that has a nasty impact on millennials’ ability to make ends meet. That combined with their student loans and increasingly steep gas prices leaves millennials, even ones with decent jobs, essentially high and dry. According to Boston.com, millennials compose the highest percentage of Americans who can’t afford their basic needs. This thrifty generation has inspired companies like Groupon and Living Social to help aid the quest in seeking deals on everyday products and experiences. A 2010 Pew Research Center study states that 60% of millennials in the workforce don’t make enough money to truly support themselves, with 36% requiring their parents to subsidize their lifestyle. Many even live with their parents out of necessity.
As baby boomers hold onto their jobs far past their "expiration date," millennials and Generation X’ers tap their toes waiting for jobs to free up. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the overall labor force participation rate for baby boomers is at its highest since the studies began in 1975. Boomers are working past the traditional retirement date because the economic crisis has made it necessary for some who did not efficiently save up for retirement. Others work because they need access to affordable healthcare. Meanwhile, a number of well-off baby boomers continue to work because they simply enjoy working and are living longer than previous generations.