Connected and accessible – on my terms!

Helena Reimeringer

Helena Reimeringer

Head of Sales and Solution Development
Senior Consultant in UX Strategy & Research

A mobile way of working gives us more flexibility regarding when and where we do our work, but how do we handle that freedom in order to achieve a good work-life balance?  How do we stay connected and accessible on our own terms? Here are some of my thoughts and reflections on the topic.

Mobile way of working – our definition

At eConnectivity we define a mobile way of working as having access to everything needed to work, independent from geography, time and device. One should have the possibility to access everything from a mobile phone and possibility to complete essential tasks without opening a laptop. We believe this way of working provides a lot of value, even if there are still many avenues for improvement. 

We value different things

With a mobile way of working we have more freedom and flexibility to take care of work tasks when it suits us. For my colleagues @eConnectivity that brings value to them in different ways. 

  • One colleague really finds it useful to be able to spread working hours across the day and use his time while commuting to and from work.
  • Another colleague is really happy that he can avoid stressful environments like a busy office or traffic jams by choosing to work from somewhere else where his productivity levels are higher.
  • One colleague believes being available for his project team, some of them working in other geographical locations and time zones, enables quicker team progress on tasks without too much effort from his side, but wouldn’t be possible if he needed to be physically in the office.
  • As a company we love that we can work with and hire the best people, not limited to geographical constraints, and through that gain competitive advantage.
  • Myself, I really enjoy being more free to choose the environment in which I work, to  spark my creativity but also to get physical movements into my daily routines. 
  • And most of us, also really value that we can prioritize family if needed without feeling it will affect our work. 

What do you find valuable, being able to work from anywhere and anytime? 

Girl with phone by pool

How to balance on and off-time?

Creating a good work-life balance is one area that seems particularly difficult to handle. Being constantly connected, we tend to overuse the fact that micro tasks only take seconds. Many of those micro tasks quickly add up to 1 or 2 hours, stealing time and focus from family, friends, hobbies, exercise or sleep.

Why is it so difficult to disconnect? Of course this is a complex question with many aspects and answers; such as our core need to feel a sense of importance – to be appreciated for what we do (1), our need to belong, the fear of missing out and more. Some behaviors have even become a habit we do unconsciously.

So how can we be more in control of our time and create good habits around availability that works both for you and your colleagues?

There are settings we can use to make it just as easy to disconnect as to connect. As services are logging us in automatically into everything we need, they can also in some extent disconnect us automatically according to our needs. 

  • We can set up rules that enable our work and life tools to automatically adjust our availability according to where we are (home or work) and what time it is. 
  • We can disable push notifications outside of certain times, or go as far as having a default “out of office” mode on our emails and messaging systems that hides new messages until we are “back in the office” mode. 
  • If we use the same phone for work and personal, apps on our phone can be automatically organised as being work-related or not, and apps being work-related can be “snoozed” according to our terms. 

But how does that make sense, having work and life floating together more and more? And in some business areas, being fast is business critical. 

Availability – on our terms?

I believe that we can set our personal availability, letting people around us work when they want but not distract us when we do not want to be distracted. So the flexibility is there, it’s just adapted to what fits each and everyone of us the best. For example, if someone wants and needs to work late and send emails in the evening or during weekends, others receive them the next day or first on Monday morning.

Why not also discuss what is the general expectation for availability:

  • What are the expectations from management? 
  • What are the expectations from your colleagues?
  • What does working on our own terms mean in the team setting?
  • Are the expectations different for different channels of communication?
  • Do you have an emergency channel? 

We also tend to believe that everyone finds it easy to set their own availability parameters, but most people don’t take the time to find those settings or the time to manually disconnect.  Why not help by establishing a default mode for everyone in your company and guide everyone on how to add their own flexibility on top of that?

We know it’s crucial to let ourselves and our colleagues disconnect from work. Behavior science also shows that time off, when we let our minds wander, is when new ideas to a problem can appear (2).  So let’s make it easy to be both ”on” and ”off”.

Where do you get started?

  • Make it easy to access everything needed to work, independent of place, time and device. 
  • Discuss your workplace availability.
  • Set your company default policy for each communication channel. 
  • Show everyone how to adjust for personal needs.
  • Allow for different rhythms of work.

If you find it hard to get the ball rolling, at eConnectivity, we have a lot of experience with working remotely and being truly mobile. If you want our help with this journey, feel free to contact me directly so we can give you the tools that will enable you with this transition.

Thanks for reading
Helena

Contact me at: helena.reimeringer@econnectivity.se

(1) – American Philosopher and Psychologist William James, once said “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated”.

(2) – According to Dr Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.in Psychology and over 30 years of experience as a behavioral scientist. If you want to use your brain to be creative, you need to work with the brain’s different creativity networks. (A network is a collection of different parts of the brain that work together.) First be very clear about what problem you are trying to solve (Executive Attention Network ) then let go of the problem and the brain will unconsciously sift through the possibilities (Imagination Network) and then give your brain time to ” mind wander” (Salience Network) and the brain will decide which idea it will pick up from the unconscious to the conscious brain. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/12/role-of-creativity-ux-design/

 

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About us

Econnectivity is a supplier of high quality Enterprise Mobility services located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Our misson is to make sure our customers realize the business benefits from their investments in Enterprise Mobility

Our offer

  • Guidance and Consulting
  • Solution Development
  • Lifecycle Services

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Econnectivity CC AB
Kungsportsavenyn 21 
411 36 Göteborg
Sweden

info@www.econnectivity.se