Over the last few years, there has been something of a steady movement of work away from the office and towards the home. Remote working is actually nothing new, but it has never been a bigger phenomenon than it is today. The New York Times reported in 2017 that 47% of Americans were already either full- or part time home workers – and this is a figure that has only grown since. Part of the reason for this phenomenon has been the advancements made in communication technology, such as video conferencing, virtual offices, and smartphones, all of which make home working a possibility for more people, thereby also creating a market for those same products. It is a positive feedback loop, and the result is legions of employees leaving the office.
Although the home working trend was already in full swing by the time Covid came along, there is no doubt that the pandemic also accelerated it. Many people who originally retired to the home office and escaped the workplace and its new biohazard signs have, now that things are back to something like normal, simply not returned. And all the while, the technology that makes homeworking not just feasible but efficient and comfortable, continues to advance. It would be a stretch to say that office working will die out, but remote working certainly seems to be our future.
And the process doesn’t appear to be finished yet. As things stand, the home office does mean an office in the home where workers keep their hours, but the next big advancement could be remote working entirely through a smartphone. The advancement of smartphones over the last decade has seen them get further and further away from being phones. It would be far more accurate to refer to these devices as pocket computers and that means that they are picking up many of the duties that used to be reserved for the laptop.
Communication, whether that be internet messages, text, or e-mail, has been highly efficient on smartphones for a while. That has certainly made many of the duties involved in home working possible with a smartphone too. Now though, the latest smartphones are boasting larger and larger screens, highly sensitive touchscreen technology, and are therefore being touted as “good for blogging”, an activity which, until very recently, was overwhelmingly done with laptops and desktop computers.
As smartphones begin to do more things, it becomes increasingly possible to complete all the tasks which remote working typically requires when you are not even at home. This has led to the concept of smartphone working; whether in the airport waiting for a flight or in the café at the corner of your street, people are slowly beginning to work entirely from their smartphone. Things like top quality word processors and apps which create a virtual office space and seamless video and audio communication are now common on the latest smartphones.
It should be noted, of course, that this is a phenomenon in its infancy and, normally, “home office” does mean working from an office at home. Nevertheless, the trend only seems to be going in one direction.
How to Work from a Smartphone
If you have already taken the plunge into home working and consider yourself one of the pioneers with the technology and the ability to work from a smartphone, then you might be wondering how to take your first steps into smartphone remote working. This type of working is far from universal, and there is certainly a particular way of going about it. And to be clear, smartphone working does not mean taking calls or sending the odd e-mail when you are on the move – it means working entirely from your smartphone.
So, how do you go about it? The natural first step is to get a smartphone with all the features, accessories, and apps that you need for effective remote working. After that, you can follow these tips:
Get the Right Apps
Downloading the correct apps is essential for effective remote working, but if you are not careful, it can wind up pretty expensive. Nevertheless, you should make use of high-quality planning and budgeting apps, as these are necessary for organizing your activities. You may have limited choice here. For example, there might be a particular app that has been mandated for use by your employer and which all employees must use to coordinate activities. Aim to save money where you can, but do not compromise on quality.
Prioritize Seamless Communication
If you ever – and we do mean ever – have a video call on your smartphone which is blurry or which has the other participants finding you difficult to hear, then your remote working is already substandard compared to how you would perform in the office. Remote working only works when everything that can be done in the office can be done remotely, and to the same degree of efficiency. Accordingly, get the best communication apps, and ensure that you never have internet problems. Otherwise, you would be better off in the office.
Keep Things Secure
In an office, the internet network used by employees is – or should be – secure and effective for protecting sensitive data. As soon as remote workers are brought into the mix, several security challenges need to be overcome. You should never be connected to a vulnerable public network when handling sensitive data as part of your job, and you need to ensure that your smartphone device is similarly secure. There are many ways to achieve this, but perhaps the most important is that you check with your employer that the technology, software, and devices you are using are acceptable.
Get Rid of Distractions
If your smartphone device is going to be your main work tool, then you should ensure that it is used primarily – or even exclusively – for work. Therefore, having your device filled with games, apps, and personal communication channels means you are going to find it difficult to be productive. This is especially true because smartphone working, by its nature, does put you in the realm of more distraction. Just as the shift from the office to the home office made this problem more acute, so too does the shift from the home office to the smartphone. This is even more so the case if you are working on the go.
Working exclusively from a smartphone is not yet a very common practice, but it is possible, and the technology now exists to effectively facilitate it. However, there is no denying it comes with a range of challenges, and it certainly isn’t for everybody. Nonetheless, if you’re willing to become part of this new trend in remote working, knowing about the challenges (and how to overcome them) is certainly the first step.