There’s no doubt, working in the cloud has changed my world. Working in a business that is all about the cloud means we try new things and push the odd boundary in order to do our day job. But is it all for the better? People often ask me to help set up their new phones to get their email and they are always surprised at the outcomes. Their email now follows them where ever they go and it’s hard to escape.
Changes for the better
Twelve years ago I returned to New Zealand having taught myself to be a computer programmer. My first job back then was working for an IT vendor with a big project at a government department that had demanding deadlines.
We worked hard. Not that hard work is an issue. It wasn’t unusual to be getting home after midnight 3-4 days a week and to be working weekends. The big thing was that we had to be on site to do the work. This meant missing a few dinners at home and time with my wife.
This has changed completely. Today I still work too much but it’s different. I can be in the office for the usual 9-10 hours per day and be home by 6pm for dinner with the family. Once the kids are in bed I then get back behind the laptop and can do a bit more. But I can do it from home and all of our systems are cloud based; we only need an internet connection to access them.
A great example of this is my day today. I worked at home this morning and everyone I communicated with thought I was at the office. As I write this post I’m in the back seat of a car heading to Taupo for a weekend away and competing in a team at the Half Iron Man tomorrow morning. It’s hard to beat this view from the car as I sit here typing away but I couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the cloud.
Today I have the apps and ability to connect to the internet that I can work from anywhere.
What’s not so good
I can now work anywhere that I have an internet connection. That’s just about everywhere. So can everyone else.
Being constantly connected becomes a little addictive and habit forming. Should I really be checking my email last thing before going to bed each and every night? It’s Christmas in a couple of weeks and I’ll be taking my laptop with me just in case my customers need me – is that the right thing to be doing?
We do need to disconnect at times, to unwind and relax. The cloud has lead us to form habits of being connected at all times, to feeling that if we aren’t connected we’re missing out and that when people try to connect with us we must respond immediately. There’s a dependence there that we never used to have. 12 years ago when I wasn’t in the Office I wasn’t at work – no ifs, buts or maybes.
It’s true, I love the cloud. It’s also true that I’m still trying to work out how to balance my life being connected and also able to disconnect.
How about you?