Where am I working right now? Thanks to mobile tech you cannot tell

Summary:Today I worked in a most unlikely place, using mobile technology as if I was in my office.

Mobile technology has evolved at such a rapid pace in recent years that it is having a profound effect on the working habits of many. Right now I could be working almost anywhere without sacrificing what I do or how I do it. The same is true for workers in growing numbers as it is possible to work in many places that wouldn't work a few years ago.

Before I share where I am working and what I am using to do the work, it is important to note that given advances in the technology I have a range of choices that can get the work done. I could be using a laptop, a tablet or even a smartphone to work with little compromise. Each of these devices has evolved nicely, and it is still happening. Who knows what capabilities these mobile devices will be able to handle in the near future?

Back to the present-- I am currently working in the waiting room of a car dealership as they perform routine maintenance on my car. The business owner provides free Wi-Fi, as more customers work in this type of venue than ever before. I came prepared for the lack of a hotspot, though, with my 4G LTE mobile hotspot in my bag. I could also use my Android smartphone as a hotspot in a pinch, although I would have to pay for a month of tethering in that case.

With connectivity available, I could easily be working with any of the device types I mentioned early in this article. Some would be easier to use in this venue, but all would allow me to get real work done in a pinch. I will share what gadget I am using for this work in a bit.

Some will be thinking that I am a technology blogger so my work is different than most folk's. There's some truth to that but the average office worker does similar things when out of the office. Before writing this article I was reviewing a business plan sent to me via email (MS Word format), and prior to that I was updating a financial spreadsheet I maintain. Pretty typical tasks for most office workers.

Those office tasks are easily done on a laptop, but can also be tackled with a tablet or smartphone with the right software. To those whom the worker interfaces with on a daily basis, there is no way to tell what a mobile worker is using to get the job done, much less where it happens. That's the key to successful mobile working, it must be transparent to colleagues and clients.

The other day I was working in a Starbucks and next to me was an executive for a major hard drive manufacturer. He was working on his laptop just as he would in his office. He was also making/taking phone calls without missing a beat. No one he dealt with on the phone or via email knew where he was working, which is the transparency he wanted. He told me he doesn't even tell his bosses when he is working mobile, as some of them believe those working remotely don't work as hard as they do in the office.

That's not true as a good mobile professional is just as productive outside the office as he/she is inside a cubicle. Sometimes they are even more productive with fewer interruptions from coworkers stopping by as regularly happens in the office.

Whatever the mobile worker does for a living, the technology makes it a viable option to do it outside the office. Mobile connectivity is now available for most workers when needed, if still a bit expensive. While most remote workers will choose a laptop to get busy, the tablet can do in a pinch. The proof of that is what I am using right now.

The HP TouchPad has proven to be a real workhorse in this waiting room for the past hour and a half. Normally I would have brought a laptop for this type of work, but the session was unplanned. I did not know I would be stuck here so long, and the waiting room is not very comfortable for laptops. I was still able to be productive, even creative, using the slate all this time. Mobile technology can liberate anyone from the cubicle.

The beauty is I could just as easily been using an iPad or an Android tablet and been just as productive. There has never been a time in the history of mobile computing when so much choice has been available. It's a great time to be mobile.

Image credit: whatleydude

Topics: CXO, Hardware, IT Employment, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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