Government meet Mobile. Welcome to the 21st century...

"Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday defended her exclusive use of a private email address during her time as secretary of state, saying that she did so as a matter of 'convenience,' to make life simpler by using one device and one email account.
'I thought using one device would be simpler; obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way,' she said in her first public comments since the issue emerged last week." (quote and photo courtesy of the New York Times)
Hillary Clinton's email use is big news this week because as a matter of "convenience" she tried to use one device and one email account while she was secretary of state. Her political opponents are up in arms wondering what she was trying to hide but this is yet another example of the blurring between our personal and professional lives playing out, this time, in the mainstream media.

Hillary's experience is probably not unfamiliar to most of us who juggle personal and professional demands and have various email accounts and even mobile devices to do so. Like her, most of us work at companies where concerns about security and a focus on systems and process have triumphed, creating barriers to our communication. But issues like #emailgate will become more prevalent and eventually break down those corporate barriers. Why? Because...

  • Mobile devices are inherently convenient. We each have our own mobile devices which we use to do everything from check on the status of a flight to respond to an email to take a quick call from a customer or a spouse. Dividing these tasks between two devices, one for work and one personal, is an extra step that diminishes the convenience of these easily accessible devices.
  • Personal devices warrant personal interactions. Having one device for personal use and one for professional with different emails and phone numbers associated with each means you create a 'work persona' and a 'personal persona' and split your time and communication between each. Who wants to think about which persona of another person they are getting when they make a connection? Which one is more authentic? Which one is more 'real'?
  • Barriers to communication create inefficiency. For job functions that require travel, meetings, and extensive communication, like sales (or diplomacy), diminished convenience and authenticity results in inefficiency. Most people just circumvent that inefficiency by using their personal devices for professional purposes, like Hillary did. Unfortunately for her, and for many of us, that behavior can put us in the hot seat.

We think the barriers between personal and professional should be stripped away and people should be allowed to communicate in the most convenient way. Let Hillary and the rest of us use our own devices and whatever email we choose and let's focus on securing that communication instead of creating barriers to it. What possibilities could that hold for our productivity? What do you think?