The work moves and the worker with it
In this issue of Telma we take a look at the work of a chimney sweep, a travelling home-care nurse, an installer of lifts, a truck driver, and a nature photographer. Common to all of them is the mobility of the work.
There are many kinds of mobile work. The common factor is usually a certain level of independence and freedom, as well as variability. Working abroad and interacting in different cultures can also energize.
Some disadvantages of mobile work can be a restless work environment and poor ergonomics. When travelling abroad, other safety challenges come up: where to stay overnight, how to move around, what to eat, how to protect your valuables, and how to minimize jet lag. Sitting in a car, train or aeroplane is not good for anyone’s health. Rewarding work and good physical fitness help you to cope. It is always possible to exercise, even in mobile work. It’s up to you.
The mobile worker is easily left outside the work community, so it’s important to be in touch with one’s workmates. That can take place digitally, although contacts through the web never quite make up for meeting face-to-face. The significance of trust is emphasized in digital communication, regardless of whether it’s a question of cooperation between the supervisor and subordinate, or between workmates.
The employer should remember that despite the limited possibility to follow the working conditions or loading in mobile work, he is nevertheless responsible for them. If there is no supervision present, the responsibility for safety is left mostly to the employee. The role of work instructions and safety issues is thus emphasized, as well as awareness of the fact that the employee can and must always ask for help whenever needed. Also the occupational health service can function digitally.
One major challenge in mobile work is the balancing of work and family life. The person’s life situation has a big impact on the overall picture. A person who travels a great deal should be concerned also about the coping of his or her family members.
I myself spend three hours a day in a train, working. The train is a good place for concentrating on writing. Also this text was written while commuting by train.