Working mobile is both fun and challenging at times. My desk is often a tray on a jet, a table at Starbucks or lounge in an Airport. When I do get a chance to visit the HP office, I use an area set aside for “mobile professionals”. At the moment, its the lounge at Tampa International Airport and next week it will be a cafe in Sydney.
As you can imagine, you either love this sort of arrangement or you hate it! I personally I couldnt sit a desk for more than and hour or two at the most. But preference aside, you can imagine the sort of complexities this arrangement can introduce to simple team meetings or just plan keeping in touch with people. For example:
- Cell phone coverage
- International dialing
- Wireless access for laptops
- Battery life
- Power cords when overseas
- Keeping touch with people
- Access to corporate systems
- Cultural differences and accents
- Maps of the area
Another aspect of this type of work environment are the complications created by multiple zones specific to team meetings and especially if your managing a global team or part of a global project team. For example, I’m the lead architect for a large deal in Australia. How does this impact me? Well, I have normal workday and in the evenings I support the Australian team via Cell phone and Livemeeting until about 11pm or so.
So how do employees perform under these circumstances? There are three requirements:
- A culture that embraces and supports mobility – senior mgmt supports the needs of the mobile worker and mandates the required cultural change, technology and key performance indicators.
- Travel services that assist staff with travel arrangements and logistics.
- Technology and process that enable the culture (staff) to perform – technology is deployed that enables staff mobility and process is put in place to make sure it does whats expected of it.
A companies culture and the technology they adopt has a dramatic impact on employee productivity. Our culture supports the mobile work fairly well but the administrative overhead from expenses is sometimes a killer! The technology we use is decent consisting or laptops and cell phones:
- HP nw8240 for laptop
- Logitec Laptop Camera
- HP Tablet PC 1100
- HP IPAQ 6515 for planner and Cell
- IPOD Video and Shure earbuds
- Sony Playstation Portable
- Sony W40 Camera
The workplace is definitely changing whether you work from home or fly to work, it makes life interesting. Look for technologies such as skype
to become more popular as people try to work, build and retain their social networks while on the road. If your a mobile worker I’d like to hear from you.