Modern technology allows us to work from pretty much any location. But there are restrictions – so, when travelling, plan your time in advance and understand your resources to optimise productivity.
These days, when we travel, be it for work or for pleasure, we have the capability to remain productive from any location. But working effectively whilst on the move demands that you recognise your limitations. “You can’t compare working on public transport with the efficiency of working in the office,” says Richard Leyland, founding member of WorkSnug, a company specialising in the provision of workspace to mobile workers. “So you need to decide what tasks work for you.”
The key is to plan accordingly before you set off on your journey:
– Make sure, if using a laptop, that it’s fully charged. If you’re on a train, you may have access to a plug socket, but don’t count on it. When flying, you may have access to one if you’re in business class or premium economy – for regular economy it’s unlikely. You may also be better off on an economy flight to use a netbook or tablet as you may well be pushed for space.
– Should you require access to the internet, consider how you will achieve this in advance. If you’re flying, you’ll need to turn the wireless connection off before you board the flight. Some airlines, mainly American ones, are now starting to offer wireless internet. However, it’s still new so check before your travel whether it’s offered by the airline you’re flying with. If you’re travelling by rail, you’ll find that a number of UK train companies offer WiFi. You’ll get it free if you’re travelling First Class, but expect an hourly fee if you’re in the cheap seats. Alternatively, if you have 3G on your mobile phone you can tether it to your laptop using either a cable or Bluetooth. You do need to remember though that your network coverage may be patchy, potentially making this a slow and unreliable means of connecting online. If you have a lot of work to do on the internet, it may be best you leave it, if you can, until you’re back in the office.
– Emailing on the go is pretty straightforward, with most smartphones allowing you to connect to your work email account. “You can use your phone to send instant, important emails” says Leyland, but he points out that it’s not ideal for sending anything of much length. For more important emails he says it is best to “give yourself the time you need to write a considered response”, rather than rushing it on a crowded train.
– Make the most of your surroundings – you’re unlikely to experience the interruptions of the office, such as customers or colleagues distracting you, or having to answer calls coming in to the office. Leyland recommends that you “take advantage of the lack of connectivity” using the time to work on something that requires concentration, such as reviewing budgets, or working on a presentation or a business plan – that’s assuming you’re not using cloud-based applications!