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By Carl Weinschenk

It's June. Schools are in their final days, the weather is heating up and small business owners are doing what they do during the fall, winder and spring: Working.

But it is important to take a break. There is a constant tension—especially at smaller companies where an hour out of the office seems like an eternity—between the need to take time off and the desire to not miss one phone call, one sale, or one important meeting.

Nothing can eliminate this conflict, but technology can help. Perhaps the compromise involves taking a few days off with the understanding that the person will check in at a given time every day. There's nothing new in this, of course: Bosses and company VIPs have been checking in from vacation (or their sick beds) forever. What is a bit new is that that there now are far more communications platforms that can link absent workers to the home office.

For instance, emerging 3G technology makes it possible to download far more data to handhelds than slower (and still dominant) networks. Far more sophisticated conferencing capabilities are available, both in do-it-yourself and service provider scenarios. Portable storage repositories are growing radically in capacity, making it possible to transport far richer types of content. Wi-Fi capabilities are available at a rapidly escalating number of airports, coffee shops and other venues.

None of this is news to most people. Anyone who reads the papers knows that 3G is fast, teleconferencing is improving, storage more accessible and Wi-Fi is nearly everywhere. The connection that should be made is that these platforms don't have to be integrated across the board. They can be utilized on an as-needed basis—such as when the chief is going on vacation.

It takes planning, however. Finding, buying and integrating new technology—even to the extent that people can use it on vacation—takes research and initiative. But nervous bosses clearly will thank you.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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