Modern Life: The Magic Token

The magic token

The magic token

How far we’ve come with technology and magical devices that enable us to do all sorts of things from different places instead of being stuck at one single desk in one single work location.

I woke up this morning feeling like kerrrrap! You have two choices normally: you go to work and feel like death every minute or you stay at home rugged up in bed. But I had a third choice that was only possible because of these modern technological times we live in.

I could work from home.

Now I know to some ‘work from home’ is a euphemism for ‘not working at all’ whilst watching TV at home and getting paid for it. But seriously, it is fantastic to have this option. I’ve only utilised it about three times in two years so I don’t overdo it or abuse it.

In the picture above you see a little ‘token’ similar to the one that’s been issued to me at work. It displays a security number that randomly generates a new number every 90 seconds. With this magic device and access to a remote website and a program called ‘Citrix’, I can log into work wherever I am. I can access not only my emails, but also work documents on shared drives and even programs like Word and Excel. It really is a fantastic thing.

Quite a few times, when we’ve been under the gun at work, I use my little Eee PC together with a USB wireless modem and my ‘token’ to remotely log on to work whilst I’m on the train heading to work. I can check all the emails that have come in from my boss and other people and get a picture in my head of the priorities for the day before I even walk into the building. Sometimes I even manage to knock off a few replies whilst on the train which takes a bit of pressure off when I get to my desk.

Today I managed – with my token and a mobile phone – to organise a national teleconference, take care of a load of stuff for my boss, answer questions from colleagues and even attach my manager’s electronic signature to a document so it could be progressed as soon as possible.

I took about 6 or 7 calls from work on my mobile and made a couple in cases where email itself wasn’t the best or fastest way to communicate. And I did all this whilst still in my PJs. I was in touch for the whole day and even worked a bit longer than I normally would if I was at my desk. I didn’t sign off until about 6.20pm after approving timesheets for a couple of temporary staff that work in my unit.

My ‘lunchtime’ as it were, was spent in bed having a nap because I still felt like shit. But then it was back to the PC and immediately back to being productive. My work doesn’t pay for my internet access, mobile phone or my laptop but I don’t care. The kind of convenience that my magic token provides is invaluable to me. And it isn’t like it costs me a fortune personally anyway.

After I’d ‘signed off’, I finally had a shower and went for a walk to the local shop to grab a couple of things. That’s been the extent of my outside expeditions today. I’m hoping to wake up fully recovered and fresh tomorrow. But it’s been terrific to know that I could still contribute a whole load of stuff to work even though I wasn’t there.

Of course, for some people, the idea of being connected 24/7 is a rod for their backs. But I’m lucky in that it isn’t *expected* or *demanded* of me by my work – it is just something I do because it gives me flexibility. I work in a small unit with often impossible deadlines and conflicting priorities – having the ‘magic token’ just makes things a little easier.

Some people do actually work remotely one day a week or have some kind of similar arrangement with their jobs. That wouldn’t work for me necessarily because a lot of my work is about being there physically and interacting with my boss, the team and other people on my floor. Plus it’s easy to get out of touch if you spend too much time away from the office. But just having the flexibility to do it occasionally is brilliant.

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