The tradeoff between remote working, cloud, and life

With cloud services, storage, and mobile apps pervasive today, employees are freed up to work from anywhere at anytime. What does this mean for work-life balance?

My prediction for 2014 is that this is the year when work communication will always get to you. Sure, there are many messages telling people to unplug, disconnect, and enjoy the non-digital life, but the reason there are those "movements" is because people want the opposite--they want to be always-on, always-connected, and always-communicating.

They want work to be a meaningful part of life...and that means work will always be there. What's making this possible? The cloud.

Cloud computing have led to applications being hosted on the cloud, able to be accessed from any web browser or quickly installed and used on-demand. On vacation, and need to check your online accounting program? Pop into an internet café and start crunching numbers.

Cloud storage has also enabled everyone, from the enterprise to the individual, to store anything and everything online.  As the Dropbox saying goes: "Sync is the new save." Work e-mail comes in while you're on the bus, asking for a copy of that file? No problem. Fire up your phone, navigate to the file, copy the link, and send it to the requestor.

With data and services accessible from anywhere, it makes sense that enterprise applications have gone mobile, allowing the user to stay productive even if all they have is their smartphone.

I'm sure many of you are thinking: "This is horrible, who wants to be connected to work all the time?" My position is that the majority of people do. As people clamor for flexible schedules, work-remote scenarios, and increasingly freelance "gun-for-hire" roles working on multiple projects, the need grows for being able to work anywhere and at any time. The tradeoff for that flexibility is the company also communicates with you when it wants to.

When a company arms its employees with devices and cloud applications, freeing them up to work from anywhere, is it fair for the company to expect that the employee will increase their productivity?

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