Mobile? Who Are We Kidding?
Have you seen the gear people strap on every day to / from work? Look around the next time you are in the office or on the train. Do we really need these big bags full of I-hope-I-get-to-this stuff?
The more we tout lighter / smaller laptops and tablets, and more powerful phones, the more stuff we seem to be carrying, and the less mobile we are becoming.
- An availability issue? Perhaps folks don't have a computer at home? According to the US Census [footnote]In 2011, 75.6 percent of households reported having a computer...[/footnote] , over two-thirds of American households have a computer. It's not the case 100% of the time but I'd imagine the majority of jobs today provide workers with their own computers (desktop or laptop depending on their responsibilities).
- An access issue? I know there are times I'm at work, usually on a Friday or before a long weekend, when I think I should take my work machine home with me. But, if I'm able to sync the necessary files, or access the company's network from my home computer, how necessary does this become? Setting up VPN / Google Drive / DropBox at home / work takes less than three minutes.
- A speed issue? Our home Internet speed is probably slower than our work Internet speed. According to the Pew Research Center [footnote] Seven in ten American adults have a high-speed broadband connection at home. [/footnote] , connection speed / bandwidth from home shouldn't be an issue for the majority of folks.
- A comfort issue? Maybe we're just not used to doing work stuff on our home computer, and maybe that leads us to taking the easy route and lugging home a second computer (with cords and cables and documents and...). If that's the case, this seems to be more of a laziness issue.
- A resource issue? Maybe the home computers aren't as powerful as work computers? Depending on the job function, I can imagine our home computers are built for email speed and work computers might be built for CAD speed. But that assumes we're only responsible for one thing at work (CAD drawings) vs. having several daily responsibilities (reports, admin, communication, etc.).
- A power issue? Maybe we're bundling up our charging cables and sync cords to carry with us between the home and the office? I don't know - we're down to cables and cords now? This seems like a simple / cheap reimbursable expense.
- A food issue? I'm sure some people are using their bags to haul their lunches and snacks for the day, but I'm guessing that's a very small amount of folks. Have you looked into your refrigerator at work lately?
How hard is it to take one weekend day and one week day to sort this out? How many days of benefits would we gain? How much stress on our bodies / minds would we remove? How much more space on the train would we save?
In a society that rewards the mobility of employees and exposure to new locations from friends and family, why do we continue lugging large bags of crap between work and home, every single day?
What if we made a concerted effort to set up our home computers to partially mimic our work computers? We could knock stuff out at home (if / when we wanted to work at home) that we weren't able to get to at work. Then, when we get back to work, we're able to focus on [footnote] removed "the" for readability, 02/11/14 [/footnote] delivering our projects and priorities.
We've built - and continue building - this great infrastructure to help us do more. Yet, we're stuck in previous decades in how we're using high-speed, high-availability technology.
Technology is here to help us. Let's start using it a little more wisely.