Working from Phone
Working from home has meant a lot more working from phones. Cell phones are a powerful tool if we can manage them.
Sometimes when I lie in bed on a weekday morning and am invited to a way too early meeting, I don’t bother to get up and move to my desk just yet. Instead, I reach for my phone, connect my headphones, take a deep breath, and bring my pillow to work.
If the meeting lasts, I can take it with me while I make my bed, get dressed, and begin to go about my day. Then at noon, I dash to the grocery store, finding the fresh air helps me digest the early meeting. All the while, my communication with my team hardly misses a beat. With luck and a cell phone filled with remote work apps, no one even notices that the times I am not tethered to my desk are beginning to outnumber the times I am.
In July last year, the New York Times reported that “the virus has changed the way we internet.” They point to a significant spike in March of daily app usage for remote work mobile apps, such as Zoom and Google Classroom. Despite the fact that the underlying mobile technology has remained much the same, smartphones have largely been up to the pandemic test. For many office workers sent home, mobile devices have become an invaluable extension of their at-home work set up, enabling flexibility to run sometimes critical errands.
When this moment of adversity is a distant memory, could we come to realize that working from home was a trojan horse for a more ubiquitous and lasting shift — working from phone?
Meatballs to Hexagons
Workplace habits have never been scrutinized more in our history. At this point, I’ve read what feels like 100 or more articles concerning the future of work. It’s been called “Work From Anywhere,“ “Hybrid Work, and “The Nowhere Office.” Julia Hobsbawm writes for Demos that “The Nowhere Office presents a future where boundaries have dissolved” and “people don’t yet have the skills to manage.” It’s a fair point. But all this management literature left me feeling less than optimistic and hardly more prepared for what might lie ahead. So, I looked for new sources of inspiration.