To say we live in an interactive era is a gross understatement. It’s just missing the point to say that all that connection makes us unproductive when connection is, for most of our endeavors what also makes us productive. The principal mechanism of our productive labor is also the engine of our distraction. (Cathy Davidson, Now You See It)
Trevor Olson is the anchor man of your training and technical support on the MyBudgetFile team. Except during his high school years when he was working at a part-time job building trusses, he’s never really had a conventional job that required him to work from a designated space during a designated time. Because MBF is web-based Trevor can work from Blair Canyon when he’s on a motorcycle trip with his dad, from the dentist’s waiting room, or from his in-laws’ farm south of Stony Plain. He can talk to or text the client in Minnesota, use a hand-held device to view the client’s budget, and work within the budget itself if need be.
When I ask him what it’s like to work this way Trevor tells me that he gets a kick out of the fact that people are so surprised to hear from him within minutes of their e-mail. Some clients are expecting to hear back in a day or two… or at least when the local office is open (in a different time zone than their own.) Many people who contact Trevor have completed an entire lifetime of work in the space and time of “office hours,” and can’t get used to Trevor seeming to be continuously available despite the fact that he’s a dedicated team member (and a son of the CEO!)
This is another of the unique features of working in the information industry and the digital environment. Research has been done that shows how much time is spent by employees on personal or recreational activities while they are at work. And research has been done that shows how much of family and leisure time is interrupted by work in the case of employees who are continuously connected. Trevor’s take on it (accompanied by a slight shrug) is that it’s not such a big deal. He can bank without leaving the office and he can respond to a client’s request without leaving the hockey game. The switching back and forth, the leaking of work into personal space and the addressing of personal issues during the “work day” don’t cause him any stress or concern.
There isn’t a “coffee break” or “lunch break” from work. There’s a shifting flow of attention between relaxation and high alert according to the clients’ needs and his own. It’s seldom that you will hear an equivalent of “I’m sorry but Trevor has stepped out of the office…” because the office is his car or his couch or his desk. It’s wholly portable and it fits in the palm of his hand.
And p.s. If you do hear that message here’s another advantage of the connectivity enjoyed by modern businesses and MBF in particular… all the members of the team can access all the company information and fulfill parts of each other’s role when need be.