This Working Life: Mobility for Better Balance and Better Business

Three Business Customer
On: 20 Apr 2017
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Barry Benson Three Customer

Barry Benson – husband, father of two and MD of 24/7/365 business, Dyno-Rod, shares how mobile communications technology helps him maintain some level of work-life balance, and delivers real business benefits too.

For many people, particularly business owners and managers, work and life aren’t at either end of a scale that has to balance. They’re intrinsically tangled up. Mobile communications technology helps resolve this knotty issue.

I started working in Dyno-Rod Ireland – an emergency drainage and plumbing company – as an apprentice 17 years ago. Now I’m Managing Director. I’ve not only seen my role change dramatically in that time, but also the technology that’s available has changed dramatically.

Always On, Not Always In

For me personally, the smartphone and tablet definitely make life easier. I have two young kids and try as much as possible to work at work, and be a father and husband at home. However with mobile technology, I have the option to work from home if and when I need to. My phone is always on, even at home. In the past, work would have meant being beside the landline phone, printer and fax machine, which meant being in the office.

Much as I appreciate the benefits, I don’t feel I could run the whole business from my smartphone, as a recent survey revealed some business owners do. A face-to-face presence is important for staff relationships, and to understand what’s going on in the business. I think you also need to be face-to-face with customers to understand their needs and wants, so you can provide the best service.

Real-Time Customer Service

Mobility has improved customer service in many ways. With the type of emergencies our business deals with, blocked pipes and waste backing-up for example, our customers cannot wait for paperwork. They need real-time information. Then once a job’s done, our engineers can complete and provide a report before they even leave the premises, including a complete Risk Assessment and photographs of any defects.

There was very little technology involved 17 years ago. Work was distributed to engineers on paper, and their communication with the office was by two-way radios in their vans. Now all engineers have smartphones and communication is mainly through WhatsApp. We also use the GeoPal mobile workforce management app in collaboration with Three.

My phone is always on, but the on-call system for our engineers is more structured and planned a whole year in advance. This gives our staff the freedom to plan time off and helps provide a work-life balance. If they don’t have that, it starts to affect them and starts to affect our service too.

Benefits across the Business

After nearly two decades in the business, I believe that technology developments enabling mobility have benefited not only my own role, but also the business as a whole, and the customers too.

However there’s one piece of communications software I’ve not yet discovered – or that’s not yet been invented, which I do feel is missing.

If I drive from Dublin to Cork, by the time I arrive there can be 50 to 60 emails waiting on my phone to be read. It would be good to have an app that can read out emails. I’d like to be able to safely open, read and respond to emails, all with voice control, and have it linked to my desktop so I can attach documents by voice command too.

If anyone can help, I’d be very grateful to hear about it. Just don’t email me when I’m driving.

Discuss your business mobility with our Business Advice team on 1800 200 017, or request a call back.

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