Because of what I do, working with internet technologies, and given that I am also a “mobile” employee – I work from home, from airport club lounges, from airplanes, from hotel rooms, from classrooms, and very occasionally from an IBM office – I spend the vast bulk of my time online.
We have a VPN system for work, where we can connect to our intranet to get mail and do our work via any internet connection. They supply us broadband connections at home so that we can work as effectively from home as we could in the office. We rely very heavily on internet type technologies at work to communicate and collaborate and make the “virtual” teams work, which they generally do very well.
The ongoing jokes in our team are that we only go to the office to submit expense claims, and we see our team member more frequently at breakfast at the Sheraton Towers hotel in Melbourne than we do in our office in Sydney.
All this, plus a great personal interest of internet technologies means that I spend most of my time online for both work and pleasure. In fact, I have become so dependent on it, that being disconnected is quite disconcerting. Many people would see this as a bad thing – I often get accused of not having a life, however I am contstantly in communication with my work colleagues as well as my friends – I probably communicate more with other people (most of whom I actually have met), than a lot of not-so-connected people would.
The power of collaboration using the internet is quite amazing, and it doesn’t matter where we are geographically, we can still communicate and “team” with people anywhere in the world.
Interestingly, I spend relatively little time “surfing” the net. The internet is a tool to me, I use it to find information that I need, I use it to communicate, I use it to collaborate, I use it to learn.
Note to self – one day I must write about the last great constraint to global communications – timezones.