Let’s face it. Your phone is your real “other half.” You cannot get through your day without it, and you probably struggle to remember what life was like before you were connected at every waking moment.
Last month I lost my debit cart. I’m pretty sure it fell out of my pocket on the sidewalk in a relatively shady part of town. When I realized it was missing, I didn’t panic at all. As a matter of fact, I said repeatedly “it’s no big deal” and casually ordered a new card in the next few days.
Flash forward to this week when I lost my mobile phone (in my house) for 5 minutes. I panicked. I asked someone to call my phone, I retraced my steps, and I did not rest until I found that beloved iPhone 5C.
Moral of the story: I’m pretty sure I have a problem. And you probably do too. But if you want to read a carefully crafted step-by-step article about how to “unplug” and maintain a “healthy relationship” with your smartphone, this is not it.
Instead, let’s talk for a few minutes about how being attached at the hip with your smartphone can actually help you excel and engage at work. Your mobile device is a tool, and the best companies are using this new “connectedness” to interface with employees like you in new and exciting ways.
The most obvious perk of being a hyper-connected employee is connecting with co-workers outside of the office.
Every job I have ever loved included some out-of-office connection time with my co-workers. Show me someone who’s disengaged and unhappy with their work, and I’ll show you someone who leaves the office Friday evening and doesn’t talk to their co-workers until Monday morning. I’m all for days off and vacations, but who says you can’t communicate ideas, thoughts, and funny cat videos with your co-workers on nights and weekends? In the pre-smartphone era, you might have waited until Monday to share the brilliant idea that came to you on Saturday morning, and by then all of your enthusiasm and positivity would have dwindled. Often, we are most creative when we are out of the office and well-rested, and having the connectivity to share an idea as it is happening leads to increased productivity and engagement at work.
Smartphones and mobile connectivity also allow you to communicate with your boss more frequently.
Having a formalized performance review with your boss annually is great, but swapping texts, emails, tweets, and instant messages in real time every day creates a much deeper level of collaboration. You can receive feedback in real-time and learn much more quickly through consistent communication. If you’re using technology to communicate with your friends and family, there is really no reason why these same methods can’t boost your communication level and relationship with your boss. If you work for a more conservative organization, you may want to ask for permission before making this leap, but this kind of communication is gaining popularity every year as more millennials enter the workforce.
Your mobile device also empowers you to collaborate with everyone from anywhere.
The number of collaboration apps that you can have in the palm of your hand is growing literally every day. While it’s great to be in the office and host organized brainstorming sessions, your schedule is likely full and you might be working remote at some point during the week. Nearly all of the productivity apps you’re using at work like Trello, Asana, Yammer, Campfire, Jive, and Slack have mobile app versions that let you participate in a discussion, share your ideas, or work with others to create a document from your device.
You can work on projects with colleagues across the country. You can survey the various cities where your company has offices to find best practices. And best of all, you can check your email and work on team projects while sitting in the sun on a beach in Santa Monica.
What do YOU think? Do you agree that using your phone at night is killing your productivity, or do you see the benefits of mobile engagement? Smartphones are getting a lot of negative press lately, and I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on how your “other half” has perks worth noting.