By Max Clarke

Mobile technology is helping the increasing number of people who run small businesses achieve a better work-life balance.

According an online small business survey, conducted by Staples, 56% of owners and managers are taking advantage of the technology by spending less time working at their desk.

The poll indicated that the increasing popularity of smart phones and virtual offices illustrates how technology is enabling small business owners to achieve both increased productivity and a better work-life balance.

The survey looked at the use of technology and social media, and its positive and negative effects. The results found that the uncertain economy, continued downsizing and increased responsibilities have made it inevitable for small business owners to mix business with pleasure.

Twitter dragon and Staples Entrepreneur of the Year, Simon Dolan said mobile devices allow small business owners the flexibility they could never have achieved before.

“My iPhone has made huge improvements not only to my productivity, but also given me more flexibility than ever before, leading to a much healthier work-life balance. Because I no longer need to be tied to the office I can attend school plays and take time off with my family, whilst always keeping an eye on my various different companies, and if needs be, make critical decisions whilst lying on a beach somewhere!”

A revealing 43 per cent of small business owners admit working during hours spent with the family.

Just over half (52 per cent) of respondents said they now feel more comfortable taking a vacation because they can stay plugged-in versus just 35 percent last year, while 40 percent of significant others don’t seem to mind the new behavior and support the small business owner’s need to work more to help make ends meet, even if that creeps in to relationship-time.

Staples marketing manager Louise Rowles: “This survey reflects the constant challenge for small business owners to adapt to the nonstop demands of the job. Staples keeps a pulse on the changing needs of small business owners and managers, and will continue to provide products and services to support these evolving trends.”