Work / Life Balance in a Mobile Messaging / Mobile Lifestyle Workshop for DPI Professional Development Week.

I wanted to share some thoughts on a little bit of a different event I presented at last week. I was asked to come and deliver a workshop on “Mobile Messaging – Changing the way we work” to 100 or so Public Sector employees at their DPI Professional Development conference. I’m one of the Windows Mobile 5 enthusiasts on the team and I live and breath the Mobile worker lifestyle at Microsoft.  My team is based out of the Canadian head office for Microsoft located in beautiful Mississauga, Ontario (just outside of Toronto).  I will either go into the local Ottawa office (yes, there are about 60 or so employees who work out of the office), work from home or on the road.  I come equipped with a variety of mobile devices including a Smartphone, laptop, tablet PC and demo server.  My smartcard gets me into the VPN and back to the corporate network, but I work 80% of the time without VPN, since I do most of my job quite nicely with Outlook RPC over HTTPs connectivity.

I built the content of the session by pulling various traditional resources together about mobile infrastructure required to enable all the parts that make a mobile workers life both secure and usable. I then related it back to the environment that is rather unique working as a Public Sector employee in Canada.  Let’s just say there are a number of challenges in the form of policies and politics (there’s none of that in the public sector, right? <g>) in place that hinder the ability to facilitate a mobile workforce. This is mainly due to reliance on old technologies that have been put in place and are not a priority to move to a more flexible and just-as-if-not-more secure mobile infrastructure. Obviously there was no opportunity to enact any great change at this workshop – my goal was merely to open the eyes to what is possible and hopefully get some conversations started.

The second part of the workshop was not so technology based. I was asked to talk about how to maintain a good “work / life balance” while working in a connected and mobile world.  We all know that as IT individuals that are connected – work time can infringe on life time.  I myself really just believe you only have one Life and you have to choose what to balance inside of it, including family, friends, personal time, development time as well as work time as part of the whole picture.  Before starting to deliver this section – I confessed that I am merely human – not some sort of motivational speaker guru that can make you rich and have a fantastic family and personal life if you buy my audio CD set…  I had been struggling with how to handle it all for a while, but I have a reasonable balance in place after taking some courses from Mission Control and personalising my implementation of their system…  I did a post a while back on my personal work blog on Mission Control and after checking out their website in preparation for this session I noticed they have about a DOZEN different webcasts on the basics of their system and how to leverage both technology and good old sweat equity to change bad habits. I seriously suggest you check them out – it has made a big difference in my life, stress levels and more importantly – productivity!

Overall, everyone I talked to said the session was quite valuable and a good mix of both technical and human issues. If you attended the conference, you will have access to the slide deck (watch out – its large) as part of the “post event” resources. If you didn’t attend, but you are interested in Mission Control and how I use it – check out their main webpage and stay tuned to this blog for updates.

What about you? Any suggestions you would like to share on how YOU maintain a good balance?

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