i came across this blog called workshifting and have found a number of the posts thought provoking. the first time i found it i wasn’t certain what workshifting was (they list “anywhere is my office” and “what we used to call telecommuting” as explanations) but liked the concept of this website (especially since i fall squarely into the category) and it’s let me think about where and how i do my job at microsoft (and from what device) and how my job has changed in just the past five years. i like how the site explores all aspects of these and related topics.
when i started at microsoft in october of 2005 i was given an office phone extension which i rarely used. i had already cut over 100% to a cellular phone 6 months before joining microsoft and boy had that simplified my life. having one phone number and one device that i could carry with me almost anywhere was ideal as an trainer and consultant/independent contractor. it took my mom a while to get used to the idea that we didn’t have a “land line” (what about an emergency?) but she’s come around to it as well. this was probably the first big change for me.
as a trainer and consultant the other big change for me was not using a desktop computer (the kind i grew up with). a laptop always seemed like a trade off in power and capacity compared to a laptop, but the benefits like the cell phone meant that i can take everything with me no matter where i go. these two devices were all i carried with me for years.
now i have a phone number tied into office communicator and the ability to forward it to my cell phone. i also have a couple desktops (one in my home office and the other running media center) besides a netbook computer and other laptops. the latest change for me hasn’t been where i work but what i work on (and how that can change for day to day because of the cloud).
besides the phone becoming very important it’s also been more connected to the cloud, my work and my personal life for the past 5 years than any other single device. anytime i have not had it with me or available to me (forgot it at home, battery died, service unavailable in a certain area, etc.) i really feel how important it has become – and although i have changed phones a few times i typically only use one cell phone. my “office phone” goes with me either as a traditional desk phone a “soft phone” (in my computer) or rings my cell phone.
now that the cloud has become available almost anywhere i have my data available from anywhere, my applications follow me (or are available from the cloud) and i can work on any number of devices. the one thing that has been constant for me is a blurring of the traditional workplace. i can work from anywhere anytime and often do. when we’re watching something on television (or more often on a computer), i can also be checking email, downloading beta software, configuring various systems and testing things for work. right now as i type this I’m running three beta/test products from microsoft, I have two virtual environments running locally and I’m accessing a third computer remotely all from a personal computer at my house. here’s the list of things i can talk about that i’m using:
online storage - skydrive.live.com
office applications online - office.live.com
virtual environments - www.microsoft.com/virtualpc
windows live writer and windows live sync beta - windowslivepreview.com
remote desktop connection - lastest version built into windows 7/download for windows xp/mac
office 2010 click-to-run - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/try/redir/XT101852692.aspx