Today’s Mobile Workforce
Just a decade ago, work meant suits, ties and 9 – 5 office time. Clock in. Clock out. But a surge in our need for “work-life balance,” couple with the growth of mobile networks has drastically changed our workplace, just since I’ve started my career. Today we are always “on,” always available.
Today’s wireless networks are allowing us to truly be mobile. With networks like Verizon’s 4G LTE, speed and connectivity is no longer an issue. I can be at Zach’s t-ball game without missing an important email. I can make sure Zoe gets to karate Fridays at 4:30 without missing that important phone call. And I can sit in her dojo and finish my work via laptop on their wireless network. Blackberries, iPhones, Droids, laptops and wireless connectivity truly allow us to work anytime, anywhere.
However, there’s still very good reason to be in an office daily. I work from a fully set up home office. Not my kitchen table, but a home office. While I enjoy the freedom it allows me (make up? No. But I can get a load of laundry done at lunchtime) there’s something missing. When I’m in the company’s Atlanta office, it’s clear that nothing can replace face time with colleagues, clients and bosses. As an at-home employee, I don’t deal every day with the office chatter, get pulled into last minute brainstorms, etc. My only real interruption is when my dog needs to go outside. The cons: I MISS not being pulled into a brainstorm and the chatter with colleagues. The pro: mobile networks and technology allows me to be more efficient, more productive. More focused. I believe my colleagues and clients benefit from that.
It snowed in Atlanta a few weeks ago and roads were impassable. For a few days my colleagues all worked from home. I saw the productivity in their work, the enthusiasm to MAKE the mobile environment work for them and clients. A lot was accomplished in those few days. Just 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible. We’d have just lost 3-4 days of work.
Our kids will grow up in a completely different work environment than we do today. Mobility will be a given, will be the norm. Today some companies are still struggling with whether or not employees can work from home or on the road effectively. Our kids’ employers won’t have that hesitation.
I won’t be taking client calls or creating spreadsheets at the beach anytime soon . . . there’s mobile and then there’s unprofessional and inappropriate. But the point is that I could, technically speaking, if I wanted to . . . without sacrificing productivity. That’s an exciting world our kids will work in.
What do you think? Do you take true advantage of today’s technology? How mobile are you?
By Kira Perdue