How mobile has changed our communication at work

For most of us, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have changed the way we work. What about the way we communicate, though? After all, even though under-20s see email as old-fashioned, it’s still the most common form of business communication for most of us and we’ve been sending emails since long before smartphones were invented. So, how have mobile devices changed the way we communicate and what we expect from communication at work?

Faster responses

People often cite Blackberry™ as the company that brought us the ‘always on’ culture so many of us experience at work today. When you know everyone in your organization can check their email from anywhere at any time, you naturally expect a quicker response when you email someone with a question. Just being ‘out’ is no longer an excuse not to reply to emails.

Shorter messages

Although I’ve seen people typing what seem like essays on their smartphones, most of us tend to be more succinct. When there is a clear ‘Sent from my mobile device’ in an email signature, people don’t expect a long and detailed response. We all know and understand the limitations of mobile devices for viewing and editing attachments and a simple email acknowledging a message has been received is enough to satisfy our desire for a quick response.

More varied communication channels

With fast mobile internet access and large data allowances, we have access to a wider range of communication channels. For many organizations social media is an important part of work and having access to those communication channels on the move is an expectation all staff have. Being able to create an issue, topic, or post online and comment on it from any device, wherever you are, avoids messages getting lost and provides a communication trail that’s easy to follow.

Useful data

With GPS and other sensors built into a phone, a lot of communication is rendered redundant. Why call someone to tell them you are at a client’s office when you can just check in there with an app and automatically update people on where you are?


It’s a cliche, but there are times when a picture is worth 1000 words. When was the last time you took a photo of something, transferred it from a camera to your computer, then attached it to an email and sent it? I’ll bet it was quite a while ago. Being able to take a photo or video on a mobile device and attach it to an email or share it with colleagues with one tap is a huge leap forward in user-friendliness and makes multimedia a viable part of our professional communication.

Mobile devices have made certainly given us more options in terms of style and content when it comes to communication. They have changed the way we communicate and mean we are always connected, wherever we are. Whether that is a good thing or not, though, is for you to decide.

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