By October 5, 2012 Read More →

Home office, mobile office

How to best work when you need to be away from the home office

Work from Home Wisdom - home office, mobile office, Francesca GeensRunning your business from a home office doesn’t mean you don’t get out. Most of us attend client meetings, go to networking events, enjoy working from different locations such as co-working hubs and cafes. If you have a long commute being productive on the train will add valuable time to your day.

So what’s the best way to take your business essentials with you when you are away from the home office?

The perfect mobile office for a freelancer business owner looks something like this:

1. Ultrathin laptop:
There is nothing worst than lugging round a heavy computer when you are on the go all day. Investing in a light laptop will pay off through increased use and productivity.
Ideally you will have your main machine in your home office and an 11inch ultrabook to use on the go. A MacBook Air or an equally good looking PC equivalent like the Dell XPS13 are perfect weighing at around 1.4 kg.

2. Cloud document syncing:
You don’t want to have to think about which documents you want to work on and spend time emailing yourself attachments or copying onto a memory stick. This inevitably leads to you having the wrong version in the wrong place when you need it most.
Sync your essential work documents through a service like Dropbox, SkyDrive or Google Drive so that regardless of which device you work on everything is there with you.
With generous amounts of free space (7GB in the case of SkyDrive) you have plenty to get started with and have peace of mind knowing your data is backed up at the same time.

3. Email, calendar and contacts:

For most people this data is at the heart of their business and essential to have access to all emails, folders, calendar and contact data from any device.
You don’t want to waste time logging into different services to access your email or calendar and I am a big fan of services like Google Apps for Business and Office 365 which bring all this data together under one login.
With mailbox sizes of 25GB you are unlikely to ever need to archive anything ever again and with a 99.9% uptime guarantee unreliable email becomes a thing of the past.

4. Documents:
If like me working on the go means working offline on the train you are going to need access to desktop versions of Word and Excel.
With the new subscription versions of Office 2010 you can install the software on up to 5 of your own devices- so one for your home office and one for your mobile office at no extra cost.
Mix and match PC and Mac? Not a problem! Microsoft have recently announced that they will shortly be releasing subscription versions that allow you install your Office subscription on both a Mac and a PC for the same cost.

5. Staying Connected:
Get your computer online by having a mobile data plan that allows you to tether your phone to create your own private wifi hot spot. Alternatively carry a pay as you go dongle and get mobile broadband that way.

Now you are ready to take your business out of the home office. For me this has meant extended working holidays (worlidays?!) which surely is a good thing! Happy mobile working!

Next month I’ll be looking at tablets and laptops to help you decide which one is going to be right for you.

Enjoyed this? Read more by Francesca Geens on using technology in your home office.

Posted in: Technology

6 Comments on "Home office, mobile office"

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  1. Sharon says:

    A great alternative to a dongle is the Mi-Fi thingumajig. Creates your own personal wi-fi spot so you can attach your phone, tablet & laptop all at once.

    Looking forward to what tablets you suggest.

  2. Alan says:

    I vary my kit a little bit depending on what I’m doing each day, and where I’ll be. For me laptop and tablet are pretty much interchangeable, and with Dropbox syncing, all my documents are there regardless.

    You’re right about laptop weight though. I once had a laptop weighing a mere 3kg. Doesn’t sound like much does it, but after a day lugging it around you really notice it.

  3. Hi Alan- yes Dropbox is so great for that isn’t it. Its amazing how much laptop weight has come down- can’t imagine carrying round 3kg all day!
    Hi Sharon- are you thinking of buying a tablet?

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    Totally agree about the light laptop. Getting a MacBook Air was one of the best things I did. Definitely helping to save my poor back on those days when I’m out for five or six hours with my office in a rucksack.

  5. Sharon says:

    Hi Francesca – I already have a tablet (that I am very happy with) but am interested in what other people find useful/necessary in tech 🙂