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Tablet computers like Apple’s iPad, Google Android-powered devices and others represent the latest device to bridge the worlds of both home and office, in part because of their convenience, ease of use and portability, according to a Staples Advantage survey of more than 200 tablet users at companies of various sizes and across industries. According to survey results, about 80 percent of tablet owners say they enjoy an improved work/life balance because of the technology.

Respondents said one of the main draws was increased productivity – almost 60 percent of survey respondents say they get more work done using a tablet. In addition, more than 40 percent said staying connected with colleagues and clients was the primary motivator for buying a tablet and about 75 percent of tablet users check email. One-third review and edit documents on their device. More than 60 percent of tablet owners even admit to powering on their tablet during vacation to check in with the office or do work.

The survey was conducted in June 2011 and asked participants questions about their perceptions of tablets, business uses and impact on productivity. The number one motivator for owning a tablet (at more than 90 percent) is the convenience of portability. Being able to tuck a tablet into a portfolio or small bag was more important than the ability to videoconference, the device’s operating system or easy access to office email and VPN, the survey found  Convenience was so important to survey respondents that they also admitted using a tablet in bed (78 percent), in the bathroom (35 percent), and at a restaurant (30 percent).

This year, a multitude of tablet models have been introduced into the market, 95 percent of which are being used as a supplemental device to a laptop/PC, according the Staples survey. However, more than 60 percent of current tablet owners think tablets will someday serve as their primary computing device. Currently, two-thirds of tablet owners do not regularly back up data on their devices, but with the advent of hosted cloud services, data can be stored on a remote server rather than on the tablet. This way, if the device is lost or stolen, work documents and other data are not at risk. Less than 15 percent of those surveyed have installed encryption or anti-virus software on their tablets.

“Tablets offer fantastic convenience and a better work/life balance, making it easy for employees to keep information with them and utilize business apps, no matter where they go,” said Ed Ludwigson, vice president and general manager for Staples Technology Solutions, the technology products and services division of Staples Advantage. “For employers, the benefit is having a more productive workforce that’s always connected to what’s happening at the office.”