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Taking Your Work on the Road

December 5, 2010

Sometimes a change of venue can be a welcome thing. I found this to be the case during a recent week of working from the road over the holidays. It can be a boost to productivity and a nice change of pace if you think about the logistics a little in advance and plan accordingly.

Location, Location, Location

Finding wireless Internet access in advance is a must and it helps to have multiple options in mind. I had great success in coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and public libraries and broke the day up so that I was usually one place in the morning, then took a break for lunch before settling in at another location for the afternoon. Be a good patron! These places, especially the coffee shops, are busy and popular – poor form to take advantage of the wireless without being a good customer.

The Ballet of Battery Life

Not all of the locations above were equal in terms of availability of outlets/power strips. It took me a couple of days to scout out the prime seats (close to outlets) in all of these locations to plug in my laptop. Don’t forget the cell phone chargers! If you’re on the phone a lot, like I am, these batteries will need attention, too.

Joining Conference Calls and Online Meetings

Become a master of the mute button. This comes in really handy in noisier locations. If you have a headset for your phone or computer I’d recommend packing it. I left mine at home thinking it would be just another thing to carry but regretted that. In especially noisy places I found outdoor tables and even my car to be effective refuge locations for calls.

Adapt and Overcome

Back at home now, I have a new appreciation for the luxury of multiple monitors and the proximity of my own kitchen. My home office is a controlled and stable environment, but on the road be ready to adjust your location as needed and quickly, especially when preparing for conference calls. Murphy appears frequently, and seemingly out of nowhere, in the form of landscaping crews with leaf blowers, rainstorms, and school kids on field trips.

You Won’t Be Alone

I ran into plenty of folks doing the same thing I was doing – oddly comforting. We shared info about access keys and outlets, and watched each others’ stuff when someone needed a break.

For more information…

Want to find out more about working away from the (home) office? Check out the following:

Do you have experience workshifting? Share your advice and lessons learned.

Image credit: stock.xchng

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