How to Organize your Work while on the Road
When you’re traveling for work or pleasure, you are so focused on the travel arrangements and the journey that sometimes you may forget to plan ahead so that your time away from the office will be well spent. No one likes to come home to a mountain of emails, phone messages, unopened mail and a desk piled high with work. So rather than face a disaster on your return, you can follow a few easy steps to stay connected and bring your work with you anywhere.
While there are the temptations to leave work behind and face the music when you return, there are some positions and business owners that just don’t have that luxury. Look at it this way, your career has given you the opportunity to travel for work or pleasure and see other parts of the world, so taking a little time each day to check in, answer emails and put out any fires may be all that is required to keep your business on track during your trip. Here are some tips to setting up a mobile office that will make business owners and professionals more nimble and flexible for their next adventure.
Choose the right tech. These days technology has give us the opportunity to be ‘connected’ from almost anywhere, removing any geographical limitations when away from the office.
- Get a powerful but lightweight laptop, netbook or tablet computer that is rated well and is comfortable to use and store easily and quickly.
- These days, you cannot rely on free WiFi hotspots when you travel, so make sure you purchase a MiFi (compact wireless router) or make sure your smartphone is enabled with a mobile hotspot. You may need to increase your data plan temporarily or long-term considering how often you will be traveling. Make sure your hotspot is protected by an encrypted password.
- Bring a portable charger so you’re ready anywhere, but also a car charger is a smart backup option.
- Also consider bringing a portable mouse, so there are no cords to tangle with and you’re not dependent on the small, annoying and somewhat useless mouse pads on your laptop.
- Other things to consider may be a portable printer or scanner, extra power cords, and a surge protector.
Put your data in the cloud. Make sure your data, company files, contacts, reports and other content you’ll need will be accessible (wherever you have an internet connection) by saving it to the cloud. Relying on removable harddrives, USB drives or your laptop’s storage can have fatal consequences if there is a crash, malware or other accident. Saving your files to a cloud or an online backup service can prevent any tragedies but also give you access to your data securely from multiple devices on the road.
Open the lines of communication. While you’re away, you can have your calls forwarded to your cellphone and if you’re not in a position to answer at the time, modify your voicemail message to let the caller know you’re on the road and will return their call at a more convenient time. You can even use virtual phone lines and digital fax lines to create a telephone system you can bring with you wherever you go. This can help you run a professional and seamless business on the road.
Take notes the old-fashioned way. It’s a great idea to bring a sturdy notebook, pens, and post-it notes so you can quickly jot down notes from a client call or to write down ideas, your to-do list, or a first draft of a blog post or newsletter content. Yes you can do all of this electronically but there’s nothing like putting pen to paper and letting the creative juices flow.
Make your mobile office comfortable. Other items you may include to make sure you’re comfortable and more productive include hand sanitizer and lotion, lip balm, water bottles, healthy high-protein and portable snacks, screen cleaners, wet wipes and facial tissues.
Limit distractions. It may be hard to work when you’re en route or surrounded by others in a cafe or virtual meeting space, so bring headphones with relaxing music to nullify the noise and chatter around you. Invest in a comfortable pair that you can take with you everywhere.
Be considerate of others on the trip. If you need to speak to a client or business contact, make sure you find a place that offers privacy, less distractions and where you’re not inhibiting others’ conversations around you. With a quality blue-tooth headset, your caller may not hear the background noise but make sure you’re not adding to the noise pollution with a loud one-way conversation especially in a place of dining or recreation.
Prepare your family or friends for your mobile work arrangement. Make sure you communicate well before your trip to your traveling partners, including your kids, that you will have to work sporadically throughout the trip. You can have a signal or secret word that alerts your kids and family when a business call that just cannot be missed is coming in. That way they can quiet down quickly as not to disturb your call. If the call is going to be more than a few minutes, either call them back or find a place that does not disturb your family, as this is their trip too.
Set a schedule that works for all. Make a plan of when you will be checking in and returning calls, emails or doing work. It may be early in the morning before everyone rises, late in the night, or in the middle of day, whatever works for your schedule and theirs.
Find lodging that works with your schedule. At Lexington Relocation we offer corporate housing that gives you flexibility and comfort while traveling for business or pleasure. Our corporate housing has a distinct advantage over hotels in that we offer 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units for families or groups to share instead of booking multiple hotel rooms. We can arrange the beds in each bedroom to meet the guest’s needs. Upon request, we can setup a bedroom as an office area with a desk/chair and whatever else is necessary for you to accomplish your tasks. And all of our communities offer business centers that are fully equipped for our executive travelers, which can be used for working remotely, meeting clients or hosting a small conference.
Lexington Relocation is locally owned and operated in Kentucky, providing temporary, lease-free and hassle-free furnished corporate housing for the thousands of business travelers that visit each year. For more details, please fill out the Contact Us form or call us at 877-539-7356.