Many employees – frustrated that their companies are unwilling to pay for the laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices that they want on the road – are spending their own money to get them.
Nearly 40% of professionals recently surveyed by researcher In-Stat paid for a laptop that they regularly carried. Cellphone users often picked up their bill. And company-provided personal digital assistants (PDAs), cameras and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are relatively rare, says the survey.
Businesses say they must carefully choose which electronics to provide for employees because they’re expensive. A BlackBerry e-mail device with one year of service costs around $1,400.
“You have to find the business value,” says Eric Davies, founder of the Davies Murphy Group, a marketing and public relations firm in Burlington, Mass.
Deciding which electronics to buy employees is tough, because there’s no easy way to measure how much they boost productivity, says tech analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates. Some companies also aren’t willing to gamble on newer technology.
Chris Pugh, an auditor for Virginia, often spends four days a week driving around the state. He doesn’t have a company-provided cellphone or GPS, so he bought his own. “They help a whole lot,” he says.
Photo by g-point.
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