Smartphones equal constant accessibility, many say 100% necessary for success

Jul 19, 2011

Press Release: July 19, 2011 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (July 19, 2011) – Leaders in the design industry are overwhelmingly using smartphones with email and web capabilities to stay in constant contact. They define that connectivity as a vital factor in staying competitive in today’s business environment. According to an online survey held by The Zweig Letter of A/E industry leaders, all respondents stated they had a smartphone. The majority of respondents, 71.4 percent, said work required a smartphone, while 28.6 percent said work did not require it, though they had one anyway. Most firms provide smartphones – a significant 85.7 percent of respondents replied affirmatively when asked if this was a practice in their firm, 9.5 percent said a smartphone was not provided by work, and 4.8 percent said they owned a smartphone, but work paid the bill. Consulting firm Rolf Jensen & Associates Group, Inc. in Chicago, Ill. requires smartphones and also foots the bill. “A smartphone is no longer a ‘techno-toy.’ My BlackBerry is an essential tool for communicating at the pace business moves today,” said Dick Evenson, chief marketing officer for the RJA group. The blessing and curse of smartphones is the ability to make and receive calls/text, browse the Internet, receive e-mails, and so much more, all from a tiny hand held device. But is there ever a time to disconnect? Most firm leaders say “no,” with 28.6 percent of respondents saying they are always accessible, taking all calls and constantly checking e-mails regardless of the time/location (whether that's a conference, meeting, family activity of the middle of the night, etc). Near one quarter of respondents, 23.8 percent, said they check their phone more than once an hour during off time, 38.1 percent of respondents said they check once an hour or less, and 9.5 percent said they aren’t necessarily accessible during off hours. RNL, an architecture and engineering firm in Denver cites its numerous international projects as the reason for connectivity. “We have to be available in times that are their daytime over there, even when it is night over here,” said Richard L. von Luhrte, president. “I believe that keeping in touch is a necessity. Many of my calls relate to business development, and if you snooze, you lose!” Jo Staffelbach Heinz, President/CEO of Staffelbach, a 75 person interior architecture/design firm in Dallas, TX, says her smartphone is a “valuable tool that supports my business and my life which are completely intertwined.” Heinz believes blurring the line between work and home allows for more flexibility. “This allows me to be more mobile and to remain in contact where ever I am and actually supports life balance. We provide exempt employees the tools to remain accessible and reachable. How far they take that is an individual decision,” she said. For more information on The Zweig Letter visit Press Contact: Christina Zweig

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.