The typical office job is no longer typical. No more nine to five behind the desk. This generation of workers has a new style of flexibility that was unheard-of a decade ago. With that flexibility, though, comes new expectations.
Stuck at home due to weather, vehicle troubles, or a sick kid? No problem, you can log in to your work network from home! If you want to stay in your jammies all day and do your work curled up on the sofa, you probably can! Many employers are now offering their employees the freedom to work from home, whether on a regular basis or in the case of emergencies.
This generation is also showing a massive rise in the number of self-employed, entrepreneurs, and consultants. These are the go-getters who decided they weren’t content unless they were in charge of their own time. Pioneers, if you will. They broke ground and started the path that many of today’s employers and employees are venturing out on.
With every silver lining, there are bound to be a few clouds. If you want to experience the luxury and convenience of telecommuting, you need to be accessible to your employer, your clients, and your customers. They’ll all want to be able to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. You can work from wherever you are, but that means work will follow you wherever you go. No more leaving work behind at 5pm…
To get by in this new era, you’re going to need a few essential tools. These tools will help you bring your work along wherever you go as well as keeping you in close and constant contact.
A Personal Assistant.
What, you can’t afford a personal assistant? Will you settle for a little computer that holds all the information you’ll ever need to know? If you’re still carrying an old-school cell phone with an antenna, I’ve got news for you – it’s time to retire that ancient behemoth. Today’s professionals simply can’t get by without a smartphone!
You may have noticed, however, that the market has no shortage of options when it comes to smartphones. Making the choice can be overwhelming. How do you choose? What should you look for?
Every smartphone comes with some sort of calendar software. The trick is to find one that will synchronize with the calendar software you use on your computer. You may use Outlook, Google, iCal, or another program; you need to know that all phone’s calendar applications do not necessarily sync with each of those programs! Don’t just take your salesperson’s word for it, either. Some guys will say anything to sell you the latest gadget.
All smartphones have these features, but every cellular service provider has different rates for using data services. In addition to these basic services on your phone, some providers are set-up to allow a feature called tethering. This is where you use the data plan on your smartphone to connect your laptop to the web. If this is a feature you expect to use, make sure it’s offered (and that it won’t cost you your firstborn child).
Do you need certain functions, such as online banking, a restaurant locater, maps, and more? What about a few things for fun and games? Depending on your phone manufacturer and your network, you will have access to different applications. Some are so popular that they’re available everywhere (ie., Angry Birds), but some are exclusive to certain brands.
Making the choice between iPhone and Android will come down to your personal preferences and brand loyalty. While each has slight differences in features, ultimately, either network can meet your needs.
Whether you’re at the office, working from home, or on the road, there is nothing more restrictive than having a phone tied to your hands (or stuck between your ear and your cramping shoulder). And frankly, if you’re driving with a phone in your hand you’re breaking the law in at least half of North America! A hands-free phone for the office or home can be bought and installed for under $100. Blue tooth technology for your cell phone for just slightly more.
You do have a laptop, don’t you? These days, a handy and portable computer can be had for only a few hundred dollars. And if you’re working on the go, you never know when you’ll need to access a document or do a web search.
Speaking of web searches, if your smartphone provider does not offer tethering technology, another worthwhile investment is a SIM card. You know that 3G and 4G network lingo you keep hearing on advertisements? It’s the SIM card that makes it possible. This will get your laptop connected to the Internet anywhere, anytime.
You may be wondering, Do I really need a laptop and an iPad? Aren’t they essentially the same thing? Yes and no.
The iPad could essentially replace your laptop, unless you require a decent keyboard for word processing. While the iPad does come with a portable, foldable keyboard, it isn’t all that useful for anyone who spends a significant amount of time typing (such as writers, public speakers, and so on).
The iPad, though, offers some amazing features that simply cannot be found anywhere else. At least not to date. (The Android market has launched some Tablets to compete with the iPad, but their functionality is not at all comparable…yet.) The functionality, usability, and portability of the iPad cannot be beat, particularly if you do a lot of air travel. It’s small enough to stay in your purse/bag through airport security; the battery will last forever and a day; Internet browsing and searching are as easy as on any computer (as compared to on a cell phone); and it offers a wide array of applications to meet any need you may have!
Whether you’re an employee or your own boss, unexpected expenses will arise! Online bookings and purchases don’t accept cash or cheques. Last-minute travel expenses are not within most people’s monthly budget. And nowadays, many employers would rather you pay and then submit your receipts for reimbursement. (Too many personal lunches being charged to the company card, I’m guessing.)
These five tools are modern-day essentials for virtually anyone in the workforce. I’d go so far as to say that even the hard-working stay-at-home mother ought to have at least a few of these tools at her fingertips in order to keep things running smoothly. The latest technology isn’t just about being “hip” anymore, it’s about having the essentials of today’s workforce in hand.
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