Yesterday’s reports about the pronouncement by the WHO (that’s the World Health Organisation and not the “Hope I die before I get old” version) on possible links between mobile phone use and cancer were less than helpful.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that mobile phones should be categorised as “possibly carcinogenic”, alongside other possible cancer risks like coffee and dry cleaning, and that further research is required. Doubtless this is the case, but the press coverage doesn’t really add value for everyday users of mobile phones; i.e. nearly all of us. As with possible links between stress and cancer, research to date has been inconclusive (although the links between chronic stress and general ill-health are fairly well established).
The Mobile phone is, of course, a corner-stone of flexible-working and Hybrid Organisation approaches. For freelancers, interim managers and sovereign professionals – as well as for increasing numbers of people in their domestic lives – a mobile phone is the primary choice of telephone. A desk-phone and dedicated landline seems restrictive and an unnecessary expense. For organisations, removing desk-phones – and the consequent need for a dedicated desk for the device to sit upon – enables adoption of much more collaborative, agile work-spaces and working models.
Further research into the long-mooted, but stubbornly unproven, link can only be helpful but in the meantime, let’s not get stressed about it. Instead, let’s reflect upon the positive, health-enhancing advantages of flexible working and the portfolio lifestyle.