Technology has created a plethora of perks in our professional lives. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is flexibility. Armed with our laptops, cell phones, and Wi-Fi, we can hammer out a proposal from our home office, pull together a presentation in the hotel before heading over to the client’s HQ for a meeting (slides on the laptop in our bag!), or share a draft business plan with our mentor at the coffee shop over a pumpkin spice latte and a scone.
Having a dedicated office space is important. However, having the flexibility to enjoy a sunny day by working al fresco is something you don’t want to pass up. Whether your full-time space is a home office, you’re a road warrior, or you enjoy the ability to occasionally break away from your corporate space, make sure you have these tools for a portable office.
Laptop and cell phone (and their associated charging cords) are a no brainer. You’re not done, however. There’s more to tuck into your technological bag of tricks, from ear buds to a Wi-Fi extender. While you’re at it, grab a portable charger, too. If you’re going to be doing a lot of off-site work, consider picking up a Wi-Fi hotspot. There will be times you need to connect and can’t find an open public connection.
Start by evaluating what you need to get your work done. A tote that can handle your tech and your papers (file folders, notebook, and writing implements) is ideal. Don’t overdo it, though. You’re going for portable. Taking too cumbersome of a bag and overloading it with items you won’t actually use isn’t going to work. Consider working as paperless as possible to limit how much you need to bring with you.
Being able to access your documents, your client database, and your calendar no matter where you are, is a necessity. Look for applications that are cloud-enabled. Sure, you could just keep everything local on your laptop hard drive, but that doesn’t help when you need to grab updates to the presentation on the trade show floor while you’re armed with just your phone. Cloud storage options like DropBox, iCloud, and Google Drive allow you to reach your stuff anywhere you can log-in to the internet. Added perk: you can give others permission to access those documents for collaborative efforts. Likewise, a cloud-based calendar lets you add an appointment to your schedule on your phone and have it accessible on your tablet and laptop too.
We imagine this portable office giving us the freedom work in large comfy chairs at the corner coffee shop, or to enjoy the beach while we write another chapter of the book we’re trying to pull together. The good news is we can do those things. The reality, however, is that we may not want to do them often. Look for a location that offers a solid Wi-Fi connection and minimal distractions. Sure, that comfy chair and a hot cup of your favorite latte sounds like perfection, but if the din of others’ conversations distracts you, the environment becomes less than ideal. Find the best space suited to your needs for the day.
More than ever, we now have the ability to create a workable business environment anywhere. Plan and personalize your space to give you all the capabilities and conveniences of your regular office and you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of setting up shop wherever your heart desires!