Last year I wrote an article showing my appreciation for certain devices during Thanksgiving.  I thought I would revisit this idea with a New Year, and new devices and software.  To recap, last year I was thankful for mobile computing and devices such as laptops and smartphones. I still am of course, as I wouldn’t be able to work without them.  I am however finding myself in need of other tools to get my work done.

I am thankful for innovation in communication.  I have hours upon hours on the phone keeping projects on time, items up to date, and life on track.  Without some of the most basic of upgrades in communication, including Bluetooth headsets, VOIP systems, and great software, I don’t know how I would function.

I don’t know about you, but I spend probably at least 30 minutes of my day on the phone, and that’s a good day.  Sure in a perfect world we always use email, but life doesn’t always go that way.  Just because the phone call starts, doesn’t mean the work can stop.  I personally require a hands free device to be able to continue typing and working while on the phone.  Pinning the handset between you shoulder and ear isn’t a good option, if you weren’t already aware.  It can cause severe neck and shoulder pain, and even a condition called articular capsulitis, also known as “frozen shoulder.”  Shelling out a few for that hands free device is definitely worth it.

I have also had to travel in my work, sometimes due to commutes and other times for conferences or assessing worksites.  Having Bluetooth technology has made a huge difference in my ability to continue working.  Travel can really cut into your work time.  Not only does it prevent you from working during the time of movement, but it is exhausting.  The only thing you can do is have good communication during travel, so that you can either talk to an assistant or answer questions that come up.  This helps limit the amount of work that will be waiting for you when you return.

I’m thankful for other forms of communication like email and text, since they allow me to be able to keep in touch with my staff, coworkers, and loved ones.   Some things just have to be handled in person or at least on the phone, but some issues can be handled by text.  In fact, I find that detailed instructions are much better when sent by email than in person, as items may be forgotten or missed.  My best practice is to have a conversation, and then follow it up with an email to clarify any details or confusion during the conversation.  A summary email makes everyone more comfortable.

Lastly, I am thankful for all the companies out there who strive to make communication better.  No matter how much we change, how we adapt to our environment, communication is kind of a constant.  How we communicate may change, but our need to constantly voice ourselves to others and receive feedback has never diminished.  The comms market can be tough, but it is making differences that not only impact the fortune 500 companies, but every person on the planet.  Finding new and greater ways to talk to each other will always be a worthwhile goal, and I’m excited to see what comes next.