Business travellers are increasingly becoming mobile “just in time” workers, with more than nine out of every 10 completing preparation for meetings during their journey, according to new research from HP.
The survey of regular business travellers in Europe and South Africa reveals that 54% spend at least half their journey doing work related to the purpose of travel. By using technology, 88% of business travellers are able to get ahead and remain productive by catching up on e-mail (31% of the time), researching information (24% of the time) and editing content (22% of the time).

However, their greatest barriers to productivity are lack of connectivity (62% in Europe, rising to 75% in South Africa) and being unable to get remote access to normal work tools or applications (71%).

“Mobile working has become a fact of life for executives,” says John Geypen, HP SA’s PPS consumer and commercial notebook category manager.

“Our survey illustrates the new style of IT driven by connectivity and it’s creating greater expectations of mobile devices. This is why HP recently introduced the first tablet specifically designed for business – the ElitePad 900 – which offers the same functionality and performance users would expect from their standard notebook, combined with battery life that lasts a whole working day rather than just a few hours.”

HP’s survey also shows that the office is no longer where many workers feel at their most productive. Three-quarters of business travellers see journey time as enabling them to catch up and improve their productivity.
A further 56% say they have their best ideas while away from the office.

However, the aspirations of business travellers are beginning to exceed the capabilities of their devices.

Despite prolific use of technology, eight out of 10 feel restricted:
* 76% of South African travellers surveyed find Internet connectivity slow or inconsistent;
* 56% say device battery life is too short;
* 51% find the performance of their device too slow; and
* 79% say connecting to the Internet or their mobile network is expensive or difficult.

“We’ve seen business travellers come to expect the same ease of use, design qualities and performance they experience with consumer technology,” says Geypen.

“They’ve been bringing more consumer devices into their working lives, but these don’t always meet the requirements of the IT department. The focus of our commercial product innovation is on creating solutions that deliver the best connectivity with the functionality needed for business, while still maintaining the great style of a consumer device.”