Can I make a confession about work and my expectations for all employers?
I need flexibility and mobility. In other words, I need to be able to work from anywhere and from any device, whether it be via my phone, my computer, or my tablet. I never save files to my desktop without ensuring I am syncing them to the cloud. (Mind you, I work in an office environment. This need for mobility need would not apply to all professions, but it would apply to many of them.)
I know this may sound demanding, but really, I’m just asking for the same level of technology that I use in my personal life. For example, I use Office 365 to manage my personal files, and I also use it at work. My kids keep their school files on GoogleDocs. Why should we have to operate differently at work?
At Trilix (where I work now), we do all of our work via Office 365. I can edit documents for everyone to see from my phone when I am on the road, and then continue to edit when I am docked at my laptop. I can work just as efficiently from home or from a coffee shop as I can from the office, with no one being the wiser. Multiple people can be editing a document simultaneously, and everything gets saved. If my laptop dies, my productivity is not impacted because I can just use another device. We don’t even have physical phones on our desks: we use Skype for all meetings and phone calls. We invested the money we would have spent on phones into quality headsets. Doesn’t this sound enticing? Isn’t it freeing?
As a matter of fact, for me to take any job, it would be a requirement that I have the flexibility to work as I have become accustomed to working: on my own terms and with minimal hassle. (If I were really looking for a job, my options may be pretty limited.) I would ask about mobility options in the interview, and it would be a deal breaker for me if the employer did not offer Office 365 or Google Suite. Now, I know a lot of employers still rely on an on premises server to keep folders and files. That means employees need to log in to their network to access anything, often including email.
You may think I am asking a lot of prospective employers to work on my own terms. However, I think that as new generations start to enter the workforce, the ability to work remotely and in a flexible way is an expectation. If employers want to make themselves attractive to new hires, they need to offer a better option than building an on premises Fort Knox. If security is the concern, think about all of the patches that your IT team is putting on physical servers. Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft can provide security at lower cost for more robust protection.
Since many workplaces are behind in offering true workplace flexibility, the average employee can be confused by cloud-based technology options. Even those who have Office 365 or GSuite find the “whole cloud thing” somewhat perplexing. How do they know if their files are syncing, or how can they really manage documents from multiple documents? This just takes some training, and once you start using the cloud to manage your work life, there is no going back.
Related Training: Office 365, Training For End Users by End Users
So, that’s my confession. I have developed technology expectations for any prospective employer. Maybe you should try it, too. It’s a good way to live, if I do say so myself.