Whether you’re a remote employee making use of job flexibility to travel the world or simply a telecommuter who likes to work somewhere other than home on occasion, creating a mobile workspace that supports productivity becomes essential. Here are some things to consider.
Setting Up Your Mobile Workspace
1. Examine your needs.
Before heading out the door, think carefully about what tasks you’ll be performing. Forethought keeps the dreaded “Oh, I wish I would have remembered that” from happening.
A few questions to ask include:
- Are the files I require accessible via the cloud?
- Do I remember the passwords to get into company systems?
- Is there physical material I need, such as a scratch pad and pencil to jot notes, my daily planner, or hand-written instructions from a client?
2. Secure necessary resources.
For most workers, a laptop, cell phone, and their corresponding chargers are musts. If you’ll be working in a place with spotty (or non-existent) Internet, a portable connection via pocket Wi-Fi/mobile router can prove a smart investment.
Remember the “little things,” too—they can make a big difference. Noise-canceling headphones create a quiet environment that promotes concentration (and discourages others from interrupting). A chair cushion helps you stay comfortable longer when working from park benches or other less-than-ideal seating.
3. Evaluate your location options.
Virtually any place has the potential to serve as a mobile workspace. Some people thrive working outdoors at a beach, campground, or sidewalk café. Others find libraries or community centers appealing and easily accessible. When choosing a site, be certain to think about these questions:
- How long can I reasonably stay? (You might be able to linger quite some time at a European café, but wear out your welcome after your third cup at an American coffee shop.)
- Is the place conducive to productivity, or will factors such as noise and crowds prove distracting?
- Is the weather suitable, both in terms of the obvious (precipitation, temperature), as well as more subtle annoyances such as sun glare on your screen and wind blowing your papers?
Some workers find coworking spaces attractive when needing (or wanting) to go mobile. Seeing others engaged in tasks promotes a mindset of getting your own work done. Plus, coworking spaces often offer printers, conference rooms, private booths from which to make calls, ample area to spread out, package receiving/mailing services, and other amenities professionals find handy. Atmosphere, perks, and fees vary among coworking spaces.
Research places before committing, and take advantage of any trial periods.
4. Always pay attention to security.
Lastly, security must remain top-of-mind when selecting a mobile workspace. Yes, that secluded park bench offers the quietness you crave, but might it also make you a target for danger? Travelers unfamiliar with the region they’re in especially should watch out for being too isolated.
Even users of coworking spaces should consider how to make their experience safer, such as how to protect personal property when using the washroom or heading to lunch, seeing if a security guard can walk you to your car if leaving at night, or inquiring about video surveillance and admittance policies.
Remote workers also owe it to employers and clients to keep information safe. Company handbooks may include detailed precautionary measures such as prohibiting work on public Internet connections or on personal equipment. Take these things into consideration when developing mobile workspaces. Use common sense, too. Storing a password on a Post-it attached to your laptop or holding a sensitive phone conversation within easy earshot of others are recipes for trouble.
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