On the 3rd of May 2016 I started my first ever job, and I quickly realised that I needed a multi-technology strategy to match the productivity of my work colleagues. Being an iOS user since 2009 I was sure that part of my technology strategy would involve my iPhone or iPad, and I wasn’t wrong.
In this post I would like to tell you about the physical make up of the said strategy, i.e. what device I am using, and how using iOS enables me to increase my access and productivity simultaneously. I believe this post will also act as somewhat of a testament to the fact that iOS can be used in an employment environment, and that iDevices are not just a luxury consumer electronics product which is sometimes a misconception in the broader society.
What about the Existing System?
It may come as no surprise that the existing system in my workplace is Windows based, and I use the popular screen reader called JAWS to interface with software such as MS Office, Internet Explorer and the internal corporate network. The aspects of the system I have mentioned are accessible, but there are other elements which are not accessible.
Some of the inaccessible elements are software such as Cisco Jabber, Pulse Secure and WebEx. The 3 examples I have mentioned are largely accessible and usable on iOS, which is fantastic as it allows me to access the same software that my colleagues are using, but more about that later.
Adding iOS to the Mix!
As my employer’s wireless network is hidden and largely internal in nature, it is a great advantage that the IT department have created a specially designed system for mobile devices owned by employees. The said system enables my iDevice to connect to the internal network which gives me access to the network and an individual app store specific to my employer.
Joining the system is required only once, and after the initial necessary actions have been carried out, the device I am using operates the same as any other. The said system which I enrol my iOS device into does mean that I am permitting the IT department to have control over my device if it is lost or stolen, but this is not a major concern for me personally.
What iOS Device are you using? I hear you ask!
For 2 reasons I choose to use my iPad specifically for employment purposes, and it is working out great. When I first started using iOS at work, I was using my personal iPhone 6S+, but for reasons I will explain in a moment, I decided to switch to my iPad.
The first reason for using my iPad relates to the available battery capacity. As I am regularly switching between my Windows PC and iPad, it is not used in an intense fashion at any one time, so the battery life is more than sufficient.
The second reason regards the ability to use my iPad with a keyboard case such as the Zagg Keys Folio, which greatly improves my productivity and typing speed. I firmly believe that it is necessary to use a keyboard with an iPad such as the to achieve the maximum level of productivity, and as an added bonus I can leave my iPad in its keyboard case on my desk without needing to held it when I want to use it.
Thirdly, I didn’t like the idea of mixing my work and personal devices and information. However, I did like the fact that I had the option to use the same device for work and personal purposes. Essentially, it comes down to personal preference I guess.
So, what are the benefits of using iOS at work?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post there are a number of software applications which my colleagues use, and which are not accessible to me on my Windows PC. Most of the same applications are also available on iOS, and the iOS versions of the said applications are accessible and usable.
Because the applications I use may be different to those which are used by other employers, I am only going to list the applications with a brief explanation of their purpose.
- Cisco Jabber - Voice Call and IM client.
- WebEx - Video conferencing tool.
- Pulse Secure - VPN client.
- Workday - Human capital management tool.
I also benefit from using the Mail, contacts and calendar applications and the Microsoft Exchange account specific to my work email. I can manage my email, meetings and contacts using the stock iOS applications which is much more efficient than on my Windows PC, i.e. Microsoft Outlook.
There were 2 major considerations for me before I started using iOS at work, and they were as follows:
- Employer’s consent - I was sure to get the consent of my employer before I brought my iPad into the workplace.
- Headphone mixer - As I am using a screen reader on my Windows PC and iPad, I needed an audio mixer to avoid having 2 pairs of headphones and constantly switching between them when I wanted to use the other device.
Before I conclude this post, I would like to link to a post put together by Alex which mentions the use of the Apple Watch in the workplace. The post is not specific to the use of Apple products in an employment setting, but nevertheless I think it is very interesting to see a product like the Apple Watch being used in such a fashion especially in relation to notification filtering.
It has been a relatively short period of time that I have been using my iPad at work, but I have no intention of stopping as there are far to many benefits and capabilities that I couldn’t do without. I hope this post has been interesting to read, and I invite you to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or feedback which you would like to share.