One thing all of them have in common is the Digital Tether or at least that is what I call my cell phone. Gone are the days of it can wait until Monday, or it will be there when I get back! For those dedicated enough to manage the digital intrusion into their personal lives the cell phone can be the greatest advancement for active public service we have at our disposal.
Many simply shut it off and drop it in a drawer at the end of the day. However, the level of respect one can garnish from a citizen who needs an answer or has just been the victim of illegal dumping is immeasurable. Recently (and it happens often) we received an email from a citizen to let us know someone had dumped some furniture in the entrance to a city park. It happened overnight on a Friday and would have been a mess which would wait until the next week, however, our email system works in conjunction with our cell system.
The customer who sent the email to the head of the department was astonished to not only get an email response on a Saturday morning indicating he had received the email but to find staff across the street cleaning it up within an hour of the message. Does this happen all the time? No, but when it does it proves to a grateful public their concerns really are our concerns. More importantly, their civil servants are actually serving them.
An argument can be made to say the time is ours as the employee to be free of the job, but, as a visual reminder of what service to a community looks like, we have obligations far exceeding the punching of a clock. Once someone knows you work for their city they see us in a different light and respect us for willingly placing the Digital Tether on our backs so they can enjoy their community. So, clip it in, turn it on, and embrace service at a higher level! Just don’t do it while driving without a hands free Digital Tether.