These days, many employees and entrepreneurs find themselves working outside the traditional office and on the road at least some of the time. According to the software developer Cint, seven in ten U.S. employees work outside office hours. Almost 60 percent of the employees interviewed felt that just owning a smartphone or tablet encourages them to work outside of the office.
What Employees Are Working on Outside the Office
What are these employees doing with their mobile tech outside of work hours? Many are checking emails, making calls and accessing documents, explains Cint CEO Bo Mattson. Is this obsessive? Not in today’s world. Many businesses work with colleagues and clients in different time zones, so they may need to work non-traditional hours to communicate with people across the world.
Smartphones Respond to 24-Hour Business Needs
In the U.S., mobile networks have responded to the clarion call, so to speak, for fast and responsive mobile technology. By 2014, all mobile networks offered 4G technology, a major reason for that year’s record-setting smartphone sales.
T-Mobile, known for being particularly friendly to small businesses (the network was the first to end contract requirements and open a focused small business consulting arm), offers smartphones that essentially work like a tiny office. For example, the HTC One M9 is a smartphone that meets a lot of the demands for employees who work outside the office.
- It offers up to 128GB of memory, which is enough to create, edit, upload and download office documents.
- A single charge can provide 20 hours of talk time and last up to 13 days.
- Quad band technology makes it compatible with all major international GSMs, so employees can call and text overseas day or night.
- It supports in-flight texting.
- It includes a protection plan that delivers a new phone if the original one is damaged within the first 12 months of ownership.
- In a nod to an aging employee population, the HTC is compatible with M3 and T4 hearing aids.
The Car Is Also Mobile-Ready
Almost as soon as mobile networks released 4G technology, it began to appear in new cars. It’s not surprising given that the average worker spends 200 hours commuting to work, according to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for CitiCards. Until recently, this was time a-wasting.
Several car manufacturers, such as the Audi, Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, plan to release vehicles that feature dashboard screens with apps that let drivers keep up with the office and outside world. These apps connect them to Gmail (where email is read out loud to them), Internet radio, weather and, of course, their smartphones. Although some people are worried about safety and this new technology, it was designed to be as easy to use as the car radio, MIT Technology Review reports. The industry is adopting safety standards, including minimum-size buttons, no pinch-sizing and no gaming capabilities unless the car is in park. These guidelines are just enough to let drivers feel productive until they can pull over and reach for a smartphone.