Work at home, home at work
|September 30, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Work/Life Separation|
The first time I was ever given a corporate BlackBerry, I took it as a mark of pride. There I was, important enough to warrant being reached during my off-hours, and here was this shiny, function-filled device to supplement my own meager flip phone. Fast forward to today and I, like most, would turn down a work phone if presented with the offer. I’m used to my iPhone and want my work to complement, not overtake, the mobile experience, and I definitely don’t want to carry around two devices. A panel at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference this week pointed out that both companies and employees are benefiting from this recent change of heart – employees get to use their own devices and companies don’t have to pay for new ones.
On the other side of the mobile spectrum, recent data from Google Mobile shows that smartphones are being used throughout the day. And just what are they being used for? Well, considering that 350 million Facebook users typically access the site from their mobile devices, 26 photos are added to Instagram every second, and 103 million tweets are sent through these devices every day, chances are, our smartphone activity at work doesn’t always have to do with work. Curiously enough, while our smartphones help us keep up with our personal lives at work, they flip to the opposite function when we get home. A survey by Harris Interactive showed that 72% of people admit to checking work email during non-business hours, yet another sign that the line between life and work is becoming increasingly blurred.
These recent trends have at their heart a key fact of the internet experience: we want to be connected and stay in touch at all times in all places. While at work, our physical presence keeps us in touch with our colleagues, and we use our virtual presence on the internet to keep in touch with our friends and family. Outside of the office, our personal lives are at the physical forefront and we rely on the virtual to keep in touch with new developments at work. With both the workplace and our social connections becoming increasingly globalized, the stream of information never stops. It would be absurd to walk outside to check your mailbox at 3am, but check your email at that hour and you may find something from that business partner in Tokyo or from that friend that’s vacationing in Sydney. The clock never stops. The communication never stops. All that changes is where we’re physically located and who we can speak with face-to-face. Everybody else – be they our work colleagues at night or our friends during work hours – we now carry in our pockets.