In the XXIst century, the workplace has become a mindset rather than a place. White-collar professionals are no longer tied to their desks, desktops and fixed phones as they used to be in the past. Although there are many factors behind this shift, for sure technology plays a significant role. However, whether technology made it happen or did it emerge to facilitate the change, it still remains a chicken-and-egg dilemma. One thing is for sure - more and more work happens on the go and it can’t be separated from the exponential growth of using mobile devices that are often as powerful as personal computers.
Almost half of the U.S. workforce works off-site
This means that almost half of the workforce at least partially works from home, public spaces, and on the go. Quite a number considering the part of people that doesn’t do office work and therefore has no option to work remote, right?
Working on business trips
A significant factor that influences working outside the office is business travel. Americans are probably pioneers as they make more than 405 million long-distance business trips per year and New York is the number one business travel destination, but the Chinese are not left behind and now spend even more than Americans on work-related trips. Of course, not everyone who travels for business purposes works on a train, bus or plane, but it’s far from being uncommon. Years ago, when the mobile internet connection was not as fast and available, working on the go was more difficult, especially while traveling abroad.
Planes have been the last stand of the offline for a long time, but even this is changing. Lufthansa is one of the pioneers of offering wifi - called “Flynet” - on board.
More than half of the commuters uses travel time for business
On average an American spends 52.2 minutes per day on commuting. According to a research conducted by the University of the West of England (UWE), 54% of rail passengers check their business email, which even causes questions about whether commuting time should count as time spent at work and be paid for. Of course, those who commute by car don’t have many options (at least until autonomous cars become a norm which won’t happen very soon), but it’s usually possible to work from public transport, using mobile devices. Apart from reading and learning, it’s the best way not to treat time spent on commuting as wasted. However, in order to do it, you need a fast and reliable internet connection - it’s the most important factor to make it possible. The second one is using tools that facilitate working on the go.
Technology comes to the rescue
The possible reason behind the fact that checking email and reading notifications is the most common work-related task to be done while commuting, is simple. Almost everyone has access to the mobile mailbox and the most popular apps are well-designed and user-friendly. Think about what would happen if every other work-related tool is as convenient to use as your favorite email app. It would mean that performing other tasks, even together with other team members, can be done on the go - efficiently and hassle-free. Stackfield is an example of an all-in-one collaboration and project management tool that facilitates working on the go, both by yourself and in a team. Stackfield’s mobile app lets you:
Tips for efficient work on the go
If you’re reading this because you often work on the go or manage people who do that, you’re probably interested in how to be productive. Based on years of experience, we’ve gathered the most useful tips that will let you boost productivity during commuting, with the exception of driving of course.
Be prepared for the worst case
Assuming there will always be wifi and electrical outlets available onboard may not end well - especially if you plan to work to meet the short deadlines. Even if both are becoming a standard, it’s always better to be prepared, get all devices charged and bring a power bank when the trip is long. Using a personal hotspot with high bandwidth functions is also much more reliable and more secure than relying on public wifi, especially if you travel outside big cities.
Comfort gives ease
First or business class is usually available on different types of transport, not only in the air. If you go for a long trip and plan to get things done, upgrading the class may be a very good idea. You’ll get much more space and comfort, access to business lounges and additional services. Taking advantage of the business class is not cheap but if you’re lucky, from time to time it’s possible to catch a last-minute deal.
Those having trouble to focus with too many noises might check if there are quiet zones. Trains usually have. Though, it might be worth mentioning that you shouldn’t expect any phone calls. Self-evidently those are prohibited in those areas.
Another thing: In order to fully focus on our to-do’s it is often helpful minimize other stress factors as good as possible. We’re aware that frequent business travelers tend to leave homes at the last moment in order not to waste too much time waiting for a plane or train. But in most cases this just means one thing above all: stress. Usually, people are more relaxed if they head to the airport a little earlier, have a coffee there after going through security and manage one or two tasks inside a cozy café.
Don’t neglect security
Managers who are reluctant to let their team members work remotely tend to put emphasize on security concerns. Although, one thing is for certain, and that is that data can leak out in many ways. Whether it is because of an employee that works on excel charts during a train journey, due to a cyber attack, spying or simply because someone forwards internal data to his own email address having no data encrypted - cases like this happen, because there were no precautionary measures or guidelines from the management side. These risks are real and they happen - whether remote work is officially permitted or not.
The good news is: high security on both mobile and desktop devices can be achieved by using the right tools. Secure project management software such as Stackfield and cloud storage tools such as Dracoon, that encode all data in the best possible way and host it on German servers, make it possible to also handle business tasks safely on the go.
Working on the go - is it really our future?
It’s safe to say that working on the go is a visible trend that is likely to grow in popularity as people won’t stop commuting and taking business trips, at least not soon.
Although public transport is still not the most convenient place to work, it’s visibly improving by offering faster and more reliable internet connection, electrical outlets, silent zones, and business lounges. At the same time, smartphones have bigger screens than they used to have and every season, they become much faster and more powerful. This process goes side-by-side with the growing popularity of collaboration and file management tools that make it possible to work efficiently from mobile devices.
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