It was 7:00am and 17 degrees when the worst possible thing happened: my alarm clock went off. Okay, let me be honest: seven snooze cycles of alarms went off. The struggle of waking up was magnified by the chill from a snowstorm that hit Raleigh the night before. Since I was late for work, I got ready in a flash to brave the ill-salted highways, despite the weatherman’s warnings.
After an icy, slippery, 45-minute drive to the office, I was relieved to sit down inside and settle in for a workday. As I reached into my backpack to set up for the day, I realized I was grasping at nothing. My laptop… where was my laptop? Oh no. My sleepy, shivering self left it at home. The last thing I wanted to do was drive the icy roads again. My North Carolina snow-fearing heart couldn’t handle that. Let alone, I didn’t have another hour and a half roundtrip to waste.
It wasn’t looking like a winning day. But, I don’t like to let the little things stop me. After a deep breath, I evaluated my day. I pulled out my phone and checked my calendar on Webex Teams. Six meetings. A typical, packed Tuesday, with my first meeting in 15 minutes.
I realized then, this could be a fun challenge. Could I have a full, productive workday without a laptop? I took stock of the tools I still had: access to my calendar on my phone, an office full of amazing video devices, and awesome coworkers who could help me out if I needed. With all this in mind, I put my office’s collaboration technology to the test.
I stepped into the nearest huddle room for my first meeting. When I walked in, the screen greeted me with “Hello Suzanne,” without needing to plug in cables or dial numbers. I never get tired of that. To join my meeting, I just pressed the green join button in the Webex Teams app, and it automatically gave me the option to join the call on the Cisco Room Kit Mini device in front of me. My colleague appeared on the big screen and said hello! It felt like magic. We had a simple 1:1 catchup, and I jotted down my action items in my notebook, like always. If anything, I may have been less distracted without my laptop than usual, as I just focused on my teammate across from me, in life-size.
Meeting #2 was more complicated. I was supposed to present my latest strategy deck to a wider team. A presentation, of course, that was stored on my laptop. But I realized I’d recently sent the latest draft to my manager for review the day before in our Webex Teams space. I downloaded the document to my phone, and wirelessly shared my presentation in the Webex meeting from my phone to the video device. My teammates didn’t mind, because they could all pinch and zoom in on the document I was sharing on their own devices anyway. I was amazed that everything went smoothly and I didn’t have to cancel my big meeting! I realized that pretty much every important document I needed was saved in Webex Teams, because any good work is worth sharing. Webex Teams was my one portable place to store work with conversation and context around the files – better than any flash drive.
The rest of my day was shockingly normal. No, I couldn’t design or edit my PowerPoint slides from my phone, but I was able to have a fully functional day because my communication wasn’t stifled. I even kicked off a new project, at my manager’s request, and I got the team rolling with a new project space in Webex Teams on my phone.
In a weird way, I thrived from living laptop free. I felt more mobile. I even joined one meeting from my phone in the cafeteria line at a time when I’d usually be too busy for lunch. I think after this day, I may try to go “full mobile” on purpose more often. When I visit customer sites, for instance, I think I could look more polished without hefting a clunky bag and laptop. But, I can still be prepared with all the documents and contacts I need, literally in the palm of my hand.
They say that a cell phone today has exponentially more compute power than my parents’ desktop computers had only 10 years ago. So if we’ve got it, why not flaunt it? I’m taking this to heart, writing this blog on an airplane to vacation, from my mobile phone. I’m enjoying the luxury of leaving my business laptop at home, getting ready to enter a vacation state of mind.
By Suzanne Phillips
Published with permission from blogs.cisco.com.