“Mobility”, as an industry term, refers to any application developed for a mobile device that facilitates business outside of a typical office environment. By using the portable power found in modern smartphones, a lot of the work that just a few years ago could only be done on a PC can be done in the palm of your hand.
You can now edit Excel spreadsheets, compose Word documents, read PDF files, and send and receive email with rudimentary applications for your device. Many of these applications have been around since the days of Blackberry, but where they used to be simple readers, there are now full applications for the most common business programs.
Screen sizes are getting larger, too, and with devices like Smart Pens you can get really precise on devices that fit in your pocket, not to mention lightweight tablets and pads.
This potential to fix one little problem or finish one more document is a powerful draw, but just like anything else can be managed properly.
Enhanced Work-Life Balance
The concern with using a personal cell phone was that one would never be able to escape the office and work-life balance would surely suffer. If one can be reached at all times, it was assumed, one would be. The initial response to this was Find-Me Follow-Me, a protocol to route calls made to the office number out to a personal number. That way, your clients didn’t have your personal info. The problem resurfaced when you called back, and the ubiquitousness of caller ID came into play.
But, with modern mobile applications, you can take your work number with you. It can ring an application on your smartphone or computer, and you can answer as if you are at the office. Furthermore, you can place outbound calls as if they originated from the office, with the appropriate caller ID in place. Extension dialing, voicemail access, and any other feature of your office line can be utilized with a variety of applications.
How Top Performers Make it Work
For employees, the key to keeping your time even when you are shackled electronically is to pick and choose when you want to be “on call”. The appeal of getting a few extra things done when you are up late at night, or to use the quiet of an early morning to respond to some emails is strong. You have to keep in mind that you are eroding into your own time with every email sent and every spreadsheet cell filled.
While a 40 point zero hour workweek doesn’t work for many positions, personal time is important for balance. You work for your freedom, for your family, and unnecessarily cheating yourself is an archaic mindset to adopt.
Instead, set aside time if you must - an hour before breakfast, or right before the game starts on Sunday - makes a huge difference.
For managers and directors, if you expect your employees to be available at all times, you will burn them out quickly. Have reasonable expectations for off-hours availability and time, and respect these expectations. You can also set the same expectation for yourself. Your time is important as well, after all.
Just because you can be as productive out of the office as in it does not mean your time has become any less valuable. Use the tools you have to their fullest, including protecting your personal phone number, and enjoy the added freedom. But always remember that there has to be a balance between work and free time for yourself and your employees.