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The majority of small businesses (59 percent) are cutting overhead costs or otherwise changing business practices in response to the economic downturn and rising energy costs, according to the results of a new survey by RingCentral. Significantly, one of the key strategies for dealing with these challenges is telecommuting.

Nearly 40 percent of responding small businesses are cutting back on office space and having their employees work from home. Twenty-four percent are telecommuting rather than driving to work.

Additionally, the majority of small businesses ranked the telephone as the most important business tool (66 percent) followed closely by e-mail (63 percent).

In these tight economic times, 50 percent of small businesses are conducting more meetings virtually versus in person. More than a third of responding small businesses (37 percent) are reducing business travel.

The survey not only shows the rising trend of distributed workforces, but also an increase in business startups. Nearly a quarter of survey respondents (22 percent), stated that they started their business after being downsized.

Additionally, the majority of small businesses ranked the telephone as the most important business tool (66 percent) followed closely by e-mail (63 percent). In these tight economic times, 50 percent of small businesses are conducting more meetings virtually versus in person.

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