How to Set Up a Mobile Office
11 Aug 2015
It has taken the advent of the Information Age to redefine when and where workers want to work. The length still hasn’t changed—most companies require 40-hour working weeks still—but the office can now be taken to mean anywhere and anytime. You can work whenever you want, without dreading the next shift bestowed on you.
Even mental health professionals are catching up to the benefits of a life outside the office cubicle. According to a study by Pennsylvania State University’s Ravi S. Gajendran and David A. Harrison, the sense of control that telecommuting affords workers counts toward job satisfaction, higher retention rate, more stress relief, and improvement in work-family balance, among others.
However, if you’re not careful, the work-outside-office arrangement can quickly become isolating. You are severed from personal interaction with your co-workers, after all. Also, the telecommute may prove to be no better than office work if you are riveted to your home office every day.
Clearly, the solution lies in becoming a more peripatetic worker, i.e. one who has a mobile office. This kind of working situation affords a constant change of scenery that all too often eludes telecommuters and traditional office workers alike. With a mobile office, freelancers would be inspired to work every day, given the ever-changing surroundings and stimuli. It’s like taking a working vacation—only on a permanent basis.
Stay put as we teach you how to roam around at work with a mobile office.
Laptops and connectivity
A mobile office hinges on the portability of your computer. In other words, say goodbye to your desktop, at least for most days of the working week. Use a powerful laptop instead. If you are buying one, make sure to go for the unit with the longest battery life or buy an extra battery. Obviously, you are not going to have access to the grid all the time, unless your mobile office trailer is solar-powered, which is always a good idea. For the same reason, buy a power extender so you can share the love in a coffee shop where an outlet is like an oasis in the Gobi Desert.
Of course, this is all moot if you don’t have data connectivity. Since you can’t really trust any wi-fi hotspot you come across, invest in a high-speed mobile broadband plan from an ISP.
With stable Net connection, you can simply fall back on cloud-based programs to sync your files across your laptop and other devices. Cloud storage services are the foundation of today’s mobile office, as it grants you access to your files from anywhere. Choose anything from Google Drive to Dropbox to Amazon S3. There are also services that let you work in the cloud in lieu of pre-installed programs in your laptop, such as Creative Cloud, which should tide you over until you find a full-fledged copy of Photoshop.
In fact, you also need to lug copies of pre-installed software around, stored on a flash drive or hard drive. Also, be sure you have jotted down the registration keys and serial numbers for such programs.
In fact, there are apps in the cloud that would ease virtually all aspects of your work. Tradies, whose work depends on mobility, are increasingly using such apps. For instance, the cloud has plenty of calendar apps, e.g. Google Calendar, Zoho Calendar that will ease collaboration with your team.
Most web browsers today can be set to sync open tabs and bookmarks across multiple devices.
Accessories and security
Invest in a spare hard drive in anticipation of crashes, even though all your files are properly backed up in the cloud. Also, invest in waterproof bags for your gear. You’ll never know when something would call for a photo shoot from above a swaying canoe in the middle of roiling waters.
If you have to leave your valuable thingamajigs in a hotel, ask for a safe where you can safely store them while you’re away. If you’re in a mobile office car or trailer, do not leave it parked in an unsafe location. Consider apps like Prey or Absolute LoJack to track down stolen devices.
“Deborah Jones is a freelance blogger and author. She loves business management, app trends and reviewing business management software.”