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It’s a fact: the traditional workplace landscape has changed forever. And the kit you need to create a more productive mobile office has changed with it.
Remote working, flexible hours, decentralised workplaces. Even before the events of 2020, the typical ‘9 to 5’ in a standard office building was evolving; research has shown that 25% of Australians already had a second location from which they conducted at least one hour’s work every week — and with COVID-19 as our new reality, those figures are vastly higher. It means now is the time to invest in better mobile office products and remote work practices, to ensure your business can evolve with the times. Follow these shortcuts for a more productive mobile office.
For most workers, having a fast and reliable computer is a necessity. When you’re working remotely, it’s even more essential. Equip yourself and your team with a laptop or tablet that’s light and portable, while still offering powerful processing, decent storage space and long battery life. Can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet? These days 2-in-1 laptops, such as the Lenovo Yoga and the Acer Spin, are becoming more readily adopted. Their benefit is affordability as well as versatility - jump from word processing to reading an e-book to taking notes in a meeting, all with just one device.
Spotty signals and slow internet speed are the dual enemies of working remotely, but these hacks for a more productive home office may help. An external USB WiFi adaptor ensures a more reliable internet connection when you’re in a hotspot or connecting to existing WiFi. If you are on the go, carry backup, in the shape of a prepaid modem, and create your own portable WiFi network for all of your devices to connect to. Remember, using public WiFi can put you at greater risk of cyber attack, so invest in internet safety software from the outset. Note, too, that many expenses for mobile or remote working are tax deductible.
On the road? There are strict laws about handling a mobile phone while driving, so don’t be tempted to send that sneaky text. Always dock your phone in a fixed cradle, and set up voice recognition or use a Bluetooth transmitter or headset so you can make hands-free calls on the go. A car charger is another essential piece of equipment – ensure your phone and other mobile devices are primed for action when you reach your destination. Hot Tip Do double duty with a mobile phone mount that features Qi wireless charging.
There are benefits to working away from the office. The flexible schedule means you can slip away to run errands, or take an extra long walk after lunch and chalk it up to a win for work/ life balance. But you may find a set routine helps you work more productively and efficiently and feel less stressed. The evidence suggests regularity and familiarity can be soothing to ensure a more productive home office, especially if work is unpredictable or volatile. Keep schedules and calendars to plan out your day-to-day, every day. Repetition begets good habits, discipline and the growth of new skills.
There’s an app for absolutely everything and you should embrace them to help you as you go about your working day. Web-based communication or office technology tools, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Yammer, Asana, Jira and Google Docs, connect team members in real time, and enable them to share and edit documents and allocate and track tasks with productivity tools. Mobile office apps can also make work processes more efficient, automating administrative tasks like sending invoices or paying bills. When you’re on the go, it pays to have every remote work tool you could possibly need at your fingertips, allowing you to conduct your business in the most professional manner possible.
If you’ve stepped away from ‘traditional’ work in an office space, odds are your new lifestyle is less sedentary and more on the move. Working on the fly means you need to pack light, be flexible and keep your equipment well organised. Choose a satchel or backpack that’s comfortable to wear with sturdy construction, and whittle down your inventory to just the essential office tech gadgets. Create a lightweight yet productive mobile office by packing a laptop, notepad and pens. Also make sure you keep water and a few healthy snacks on hand.
While a diary or planner can be useful for familiarity (see point 4 above), keeping piles of paperwork is pointless and inefficient. When you’re working from a mobile office with nowhere to store your stuff, you need to run a tight ship and keep things very streamlined. Where possible, convert essential documents to digital files and rely on cloud-based storage and/or external hard drives instead of physical copies. Aim to keep things minimalist in your digital spaces as well; set aside a parcel of time each week for combing through your desktop, downloads folder and email and deleting anything that’s unnecessary.
If you’re a sole trader or getting busy nurturing your side hustle, there’s little occupational health and safety, especially when working remotely. The responsibility falls to you to be your own advocate and ensure your physical and mental wellbeing is a top consideration. One of the easiest things you can do is get 7-9 hours of sleep at night, and while you’re at it, aim to drink 2-3 litres of water each day. If you’re working from home, set up a small work station with a desk and chair to avoid possible injury or strain. Make sure you take frequent breaks and check in with yourself regularly to see how you’re feeling, you’ll benefit with a more productive mobile office in the long run.