I think the headline of this Ars Technica piece on the mobile workforce can be a bit misleading. When you read the nuts and bolts of the piece, a different message is sent. Compared to this headline, it’s clear an agenda was meant:
“How Mobile Technology Created A Workforce That Never Stops Working.”
Some vision-casting for the future of our workforce is necessary, and what better way to think of them than with a mobile device or two in their hands. It does beg the question of how connected we should be, though.
As someone who can’t put their phone down, or manage to let it out of my sight, I see the conundrum We should be able to disconnect and allow ourselves some space from everything that’s going on. There’s also some physiological issues that can stem from needing to be available at all times.
Instead of looking at it that way, I would like to focus on how being connected can help us manage our workdays a little better.
For many of us, work used to be a time where you put your head down and cranked out as much as you could so that you could be home in time for dinner. There was no ability to take work home once. If you could, there was no way to collaborate or manage workflows correctly. As a result, our time in office was very stressful.
Now, I can go throughout my day knowing that work will get done by the talented people I collaborate with every day. If that means I respond to an email before bed or over the breakfast table, it means my time in the office can be used for tasks that are more important. Face-to-face interaction, building each other up, making the best products possible, and more.
Instead of getting bogged down by all the electronic communication requirements we have, get them out of the way during off-peak hours and focus on enjoying the day with some great people. That’s how people build great things together.
The next time you feel bad for checking your email in bed, or answer a text from a colleague during your morning run, consider it one step further towards sanity from 9-5 (or whenever you work). Don’t overload yourself, but use the right boundaries for work and home.