Four out of five leaders at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) say the use of mobile devices by employees has a positive effect on productivity, according to a survey by Sage North America.

The mobile applications most commonly used by SMBs are for keeping business contacts organized (31%), scheduling (26%), and tracking/assigning tasks (23%), according to surveyed SMBs.

Only 2% of respondents say remote technology has a negative impact on productivity, the survey found.

Below, additional findings from the Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices, which polled SMB decision-makers across various industries.

SMB employees are using an array of devices to access work-related information when not in the office: Laptops (80% of employees) and smartphones (81%) are the most common, followed by tablets (57%).

However, that mix may be changing, with a majority of respondents saying they've seen laptop use decrease (11%) or remain the same (47%) over the past year. On the other hand, most have seen an increase in smartphone (82%) and tablet (71%) use.

Although employers now supply most mobile devices, 48% of the businesses surveyed said they have also implemented a "BYOD"—bring your own device—policy of sorts.

Respondents said smartphones, regardless of whether provided by the employer or purchased by the employee, are used for work over 58% of the time.

Among other findings from the study:

  • Apple iOS is the most popular smartphone/tablet operating system (52%) among respondents, followed by Android (46%) and Windows (36%).
  • The SMBs surveyed are taking a wait-and-see approach to Windows 8. Only 12% are using it as their computer operating system, and just 8% plan to switch over in the next six months. For smartphones/tablets, most are either undecided (45%) or have already rejected Windows 8 as an option (30%).

About the data: The Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices was conducted among 490 respondents. It was part of a larger online survey of decision-makers and employees of various industries about their use of mobile devices, conducted between January 10 and February 1, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji