Mobile technologies bring many advantages for the enterprise—and this is great news! The benefits include:
- Highly productive and high-performing employees
- Faster time to market, faster to the customer and consumer
- More and better near real-time information
- Collaboration around the globe at any time
But what’s in it for mobile workers and high-performing employees?
Will they suffer from mobile, becoming tired and even developing health problems, or will they love it? What advantages or disadvantages can they expect from this technology? How do we bring these concerns in line with a company’s expectations about a mobile employee society?
My personal belief is that there are some rules we must follow in order to benefit from a mobile enterprise instead of suffering or getting exhausted or even burned out. Consider the following four suggestions:
- Define your personal preferences, expectations and the value you contribute through your work. Then talk about it!
Don’t waste time with calls or meetings that you are not convinced are worthwhile, that do not bring value to your targets or that are heisting your time. Personal responsibility is the keyword!
- Control your time.
Agree with your manager and peers about when you work and when you are not available. Learn how to clearly say no if you cannot manage your time any longer and the work seems to manage you. Let people see your value, but maintain boundaries as well. People will respect this.
- Clearly differentiate your working time and family time.
Don’t mix them up! Or do you want to hear your little son say, “Mom, stop making phone calls now and just play with me!”
- Change your methods of collaboration.
Email overload can be a big problem: the e–flood wave is reaching an unfightable volume for many workers. Often I feel anxious and desperate to get them sorted, written, answered, deleted, but as soon as I’m done, again a mass has arrived. Stop trying to manage all of them! Working on emails limits your productivity. Also be careful about who you send an email or invite into a call or meeting. Use email with discretion.
You might say that the points above are relevant whether we are working through mobile or not. Sure, but our lovely little devices can exponentially raise the velocity and volume at which we work. We are now prepared to work wherever we are: during holidays, on the weekends, even when we’re cooking or shopping.
I’m convinced that if we adhere to these basic rules we can really benefit from a mobile enterprise while maintaining good boundaries with our personal life. There are great advantages to a mobile workforce too. Think about the following:
- Great achievement comes from flexibility. Consider a busy working mom, probably in a management position, with two little children sick in bed, who doesn’t have the possibility of working mobile. I do not want to imagine! How great are these little gadgets for allowing workers the flexibility to work remotely when needed.
- Great achievement comes from saving time. My home is 50 miles from IBM headquarters, which keeps me on the road for an hour and a half each day. What can you accomplish in an hour and a half? By saving that time, I could improve my productivity and efficiency. Moreover, think about the environmental pollution that we can prevent by not driving into the office every day.
And think about this fact: Generation Y is spotting that business success, personal status and money are not the most important things. According to a brand new German study of CosmosDirekt – Die Versicherung called “Flexibility Study,” the Y generation (born after 1980) have a strong focus on personal life, probably with a family and regular leisure time. Living for the business—and career—comes in second position. This generation is clearly expressing a focus on a balanced work life, so organizations in the future must think about how to meet their working expectations—how to collaborate and communicate efficiently and how to share information and knowledge in a team.
In summary, mobile technology offers many advantages to enterprises but can also present challenges, especially for professional and high-performance workers. Maintaining good boundaries by following the rules listed above can help workers utilize mobile technology without becoming overburdened. Work-life balance is crucial to the health and well-being of workers and improves the quality of their performance and their productivity in the enterprise.
My final statement: you can survive in a mobile workforce!
Let me know your thoughts, experience and recommendations regarding survival in a mobile workplace. Leave a comment below; I’m keen to hear what you think!
Anna Maria Holdenried works with GTS Workplace & ICS Collaboration & Communication as well as IT Management Consulting Services at IBM. She is also an IBM Redbooks thought leader. Follow Anna-Maria on Twitter at @annamariaholden.