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Northern Ireland workers may end up asking 'Where's the love?', according to a new survey on mobile devices.

The study, by communications firm Damovo, found that the increasing use of devices such as laptops and PDAs is allowing people to spend more time working from home, reducing the chances for an office romance. "There is a strong possibility that romance in the workplace will disappear if people stop coming into the office," said John McCabe, managing director of Damovo in Ireland.

But while the rise of mobile devices might see Cupid joining the dole queue, the survey found that 87 per cent of workers said such devices have helped them improve the balance between their social and professional lives. The opportunity to work from home was considered the most desired benefit offered by mobility for 52 per cent of survey respondents, with another 29 per cent saying they would like greater flexibility to work outside the office.

"It is clear that more people and organisations are seeing the benefits mobility can bring," said Richard Taylor, Northern Ireland business manager with Damovo. "With increasing technological advances, people will be able to do more things with fewer devices, which will provide many businesses with a great opportunity to reduce costs, drive productivity and, most importantly, have a happy workforce."

The study asked 100 people working in the public and private sector in Northern Ireland about how they currently use mobile devices at work. The vast majority said these devices are very important to their work, with voice-calls being the most important mobile application.

In spite of the more widespread use of mobile devices, 51 per cent of respondents said they are still only using one device for work. "There's definitely room to progress this area of the market. I think the move to more combined devices will see people making greater use of mobile technology," said McCabe. "In the past, many employees would have needed a mobile phone, Blackberry and laptop. Now a mobile phone and Blackberry can work together on one device."

Damovo operates in ten countries worldwide and employs over 1,500 people. Its clients in Ireland include Enterprise Northern Ireland, AIB, and Dublin Institute of Technology.

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