Conversations about flexible working tend to focus on devices. It’s understandable. Devices are fun; they’re cool; they’re literally shiny.  But they’re only half the flexible working story. At Civil Service Live 2014, Microsoft will be walking attendees through a day in the life of the modern civil servant. And to do that, we’ll need to talk about more than just devices.

In our last post, we talked about some of the ways you could get a little work done while commuting in on a train using a touch-sensitive devices like the new Surface Pro 3. You’re off to great start. But then let’s say you hit a little snag: You leave your shiny new device on the seat of the train and you don’t realise until you get to the office.

In the past, that would have been a total disaster. All your files and programs were on the device. Without the devices, you simply didn’t have the tools you need to do your job. You might as well go home.

But not so fast. Being able to work flexibly means you can work any time, anywhere, on any device – thanks to the cloud. Your files aren’t in the device. They’re in the cloud. Your programs aren’t necessarily in the device, either. They can also be in the cloud. So while it’s not great news that a device has gone missing, it doesn’t have to ruin your entire day.

You head on in the office, explain the problem and pick up a temporary device. There you plug into a docking station in the hot desk area and get back to work. Your files are saved to the cloud using Office 365 and OneDrive. You can still make and receive voice calls using Lync. You can still collaborate using Yammer. You might be a little embarrassed about the mishap, but you’re not wasting time.

You’ve got a big afternoon meeting to prepare for, so you log into OneNote and go over the prep notes with your team. You can use Lync to call a colleague who is working from home today and then collaboratively edit the document in real time.

Lucky for you, another co-worker passed through the same train station and managed to retrieve your device just before the big meeting. You’re definitely relieved to have it back, but you’re also relieved that you didn’t have to waste time waiting for it to return. You can walk into that meeting room exactly as prepared as if you’d been in the office all day, working at a traditional laptop.

Does having a flexible working approach help improve your productivity when you’re in meetings? You bet – but that’ll have to wait for another post.

The Microsoft Smarter Working Experience will be ready to welcome you at Civil Service Live London on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th July at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. Along SMART Technologies and furniture provider Flexiform, we look forward to showing you how the modern civil servant gets more done wherever they are.  You’ll be able to take a mini tour of a ‘day in the life’ of the modern civil servant. This 20-minute tour is a fun way to learn how civil servants can get more done by working where they’re most productive. See you there!

Learn more about the event and e-mail ukps@microsoft.com if you’d like to arrange a meeting.