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Five Reasons Going Mobile Makes Sense for IT Professionals

Level 15

According to the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report, nearly half of US workers are somewhat likely to look for a job this year.  These are the good employees, too. In this survey, they overwhelmingly self-described themselves as:

  1. Hard workers
  2. High achievers
  3. Highly educated
  4. Ambitious

So as an employer, manager, or individual contributor, what is it that a company can do to retain these workers (or in other words… you!)? What is it that they are looking for? Overwhelmingly, the key seems to be flexibility. Another recent OfficeTeam survey listed some of the top requested employee perks:

1.     Flexible schedules

2.     Leave early on Fridays

3.     Activities such as a company picnic or potluck

4.     More relaxed dress code

#1 and #2 are all about flexibility. #3 is too when you think about what “dress code” actually means (freedom to choose).  I think this goes a long way toward explaining the BYOD buzz. BYOD puts a lot of power back in the hands of the employee. When you bring your own device, you get to choose how and when to work (because these are portable devices), and even what form factor in which to do the work… basically… it’s about flexibility.

So let’s dive into BYOD from a IT professional’s perspective. If you are in technology, especially IT, your life is pretty much confined to sitting in front of a screen.  But, if you can take that screen and shrink it down to a tablet or phone, then you can go about living your life while keeping an eye on work things. A IT pro’s work is never done, but at least going mobile gives you the ability to decouple yourself from your desk and get out into the real world.

Why is going mobile imperative for you job satisfaction?

You can fix problems with the device you always have in your hand.

Having the ability to work from your mobile device allows you integrate your work and life schedules. If you need to check on something while your kid is at the playground, you can do that. If you need to check on something while you’re in a meeting, you can do that too. You become the owner of your schedule when you are freed from your desk. 

Work from wherever, whenever. 

Emergency or not, being able to solve issues without going back to your desk or even starting up your laptop is a real time saver and de-stresser.  You can never be sure when “work” will happen. It is so much easier to triage from your mobile device—the device that’s always with you— than it is to start up your laptop or even worse,  go into the office!

Turn any time into productive time.

Productivity tools are not just tools that allow you to work more; they also allow you to do work on your own terms.  This is about freedom, not about working every waking moment. By turning idle time into productive time, you’re really using your time wisely. For example – the time you are waiting in line at the grocery, or at the car wash, or whatever, you can check on things, do some routine tasks, and make sure all is well.

Don’t wonder – know.

Wonder if that server is up now? Did that help desk ticket get taken care of?  Find out. Don’t spend time worrying about work.  Focus on your life.

Address problems before they escalate.

Handling things immediately makes you look like a superhero. Before users notice or your boss even knows there was a problem, issues are vanquished. This proactive way of working is also a heck of a lot less stressful than the old pager days where you’d get alerted after a user reported a problem and something was already down and costing your company money. You don’t have to live that way.

Going mobile delivers a vital productivity, peace of mind, and general job satisfaction. To find the right mobile app, simply ensure the  tasks you do the most are available on your mobile device—the 70/30 rule is a good one to follow. Can I do 70% of the most urgent tasks from this mobile app? If I have to go to my desk 30% of the time, that’s probably a fair ratio. If you can get higher than that – awesome. If you have to go a bit lower, that’s fine too as long as you feel the app is useful.  As you learn the application or applications, you might find it brings a whole new dimension to your work and how you structure your time. One app you might consider is Mobile Admin  - it integrates with the Orion platform, as well as several other key 3rd party apps.

I’m eager to hear your comments on how going mobile is working for you in your current role.

About the Author
Christine joined the team in January ’09 and is currently a director of product marketing. She has experience in both very large and very small tech companies, and thinks that SolarWinds is just right.  She’s been in technology for about fifteen years doing project and product management. She loves Austin, but wishes CA would let us move Napa to Texas.