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Northern firms 'do without email'

The research revealed that 3% of companies in the region still don't use online messaging, although, contradictorily; businesses in the North and in Scotland were most likely to conclude that mobile and electronic communications had made them more productive.

Firms in Scotland were also found to be the most prolific email users. Some 14% of owner-managers there spent between three and five hours a day emailing clients, partners and suppliers.

London is similarly a hotbed of online activity, 2% bosses spending more than five hours a day corresponding electronically. On average, British businesses email for one hour and twelve minutes a day, compared with one-and-a-half hours globally.

"Whilst the vast majority of businesses use email and the internet to communicate effectively, e-commerce in its strictest sense has still not fulfilled its potential," said Wendy Hart at Grant Thornton.

"It would appear that concerns over security and spam email still need to be overcome before this happens. In addition, a balance has to be struck between communication methods making people more available and thus increasing productivity."

But she warned that businesses must also switch off from email and the internet, and avoid getting stressed over the attendant deluge of emails and spam.

 (BusinessEurope.com)