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Personal trainer Rob Burr's experience of mobile working

Rob Burr is managing director of Phoenix Coaching, a firm of personal trainers based in London. The New Zealander travels to his clients all over London and rarely gets time in the office.

The company has five personal trainers, a masseuse, a swimming trainer and a nutritional therapist. From their office in Fulham, they go straight to customers on customised bikes, visiting them in their homes, offices or gyms.

Although the directors - Rob Burr and Jim Stubbs - count rock stars, celebrities and royalty among their clients they are naturally discreet.

They apply the same high standards to their entire clientele. "We want to be an encouraging and knowledgeable exercise buddy than a drill sergeant," says Rob.

This also means being highly flexible to fit in with people's busy schedules.


"Trying to keep track of all my appointments used to be a real pain," he says.

"My clients want to change appointments on the phone all the time and at the end of every session I like to book up the next one." Missing an appointment isn't just a case of lost revenue - it damages the company's cherished reputation for service. It is after all a personal training company.

Quote�Missing an appointment isn't just a case of lost revenue.�End Quote

He loves his iPaq PocketPC. He can keep track of all his appointments and client details with a single device. It's not much bigger than a mobile phone, so it fits easily in the rucksack he uses to carry his kit.

When he does make it into the office, he synchronises it with his desktop computer so that all the information is backed up and available to his colleagues.

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He is also experimenting with picking up his email on the move. He already downloads his email from his desktop computer every morning but using his mobile phone he is also able to pick up email during breaks in his day: in the park, in a caf�, over lunch, while waiting for his clients to arrive. "Some of my clients seem to do everything by email, so if I can be more available to them I'll get more business," he adds.

The company keeps a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for each of his clients to keep track of their training progress. What really won him over to the PocketPC was the ability to download these spreadsheets and take them with him ready of his day's sessions. Any changes he makes are synchronised back onto the desktop computer when he returns.

He could do the same things on a smaller Smartphone (except edit spreadsheets) but he prefers the larger screen of the PocketPC. His colleague, Jim, likes a Smartphone because it is more compact. Either way, mobile working is as much part of the Phoenix culture as the bikes and endless crunches, curls and sprints.

Find out more about Rob and Phoenix Coaching on their website.

What next?

Are you a Smartphone person or a Pocket PC person? Let us help you choose the right mobile device for your personal needs.

Look into BT's Business Email subscription service if you want to access your email, calendar and contacts anywhere like Rob. Business Email is securely hosted using proven Microsoft Exchange technology so you won't need to worry about setting up and maintaining a company server.

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