By August 29, 2013 Read More →

How to stay powered up when mobile working

Mobile working tips on saving money on power and roaming charges

Powered up when mobile working - Alan WilliamsWhen Alan Williams isn’t working at home with coworkers Sparky and Wilson, he’s often out mobile working here in the UK or abroad. And he’s picked up some useful information in the process that we can benefit from in today’s guest post:

Over the last few months, I’ve had quite a few trips away from both my home office, my regular office, and in some cases away from the UK completely. I still have to remain connected, and have to keep those gadgets charged.

Both having power and trying not to run up huge bills through excessive data roaming costs can prove a challenge, particularly when you are the one paying the bills. I’ve developed a system that works for me and thought I would share it here.

Let’s face it, without batteries charged work can stop pretty quickly, and it might be a couple of hours before you can recharge your tech. There are a couple of tools in my tech bag that make this easier.

1. There are lots of different back-up batteries out there for recharging your phone. I prefer to use a PowerTraveller PowerMonkey because it will let me charge both my phone and iPad, and comes with lots of different connectors, so I don’t have to replace this if I change my phone in the future. I’ll get a complete recharge out of it, which will normally get me from home to destination, without having to worry that I’m going to run out of juice while mobile working.

2. I also carry a Masterplug mains USB charger (pictured). This allows me to charge two USB devices and one standard plug device at once. When travelling abroad, I simply plug this into an adapter to fit the local socket configuration. This means that I only need to bring cables, and not lots of different plugs, and hope that there are enough sockets!

Data & Roaming Charges
There has been quite a bit of coverage in the press over recent months, about roaming charges, and although the price does seem to be coming down, it will be a while before there is parity between what you pay on your home network compared to what the same usage will cost you outside of the UK.

There are lots of variables to consider, depending on whether you need voice, text or data. If you are tied to a network through a contract this will limit your choice, but if you only travel occasionally it’s unlikely that you’ll need to go to the extreme of having separate accounts for home networks and abroad.

The latter is worth considering if you’re going to be in one particular country regularly or for an extended period of time. You can find comparators for the UK domestic networks on many price comparison sites.

1. As I only travel occasionally I stick with my domestic network, but have developed something of a routine. I have data turned off on my iPad, and use this and my laptop only on free Wi-Fi.

I make sure that the hotel I am going to be staying at has free Wi-Fi as standard and if possible unlimited usage. This is becoming a standard in most business hotels across Europe now, and normally just requires the password, which reception will give you when checking in, if you ask. So I’m still OK for mobile working, I just save all of the uploading and downloading for when I’m connected.

2. For my phone I use a different system. I don’t make many voice calls, it’s mainly texts (or iMessage) and data. So I have an add-on with my domestic network (Orange), which allows me to use up to 100MB of data for £3 per day. This more than covers what I use when on the move, any additional texts or calls I pay for, but generally this is just a few pounds.

I also have a data counter app which monitors exactly how much I’m using and will let me know when I’ve reached pre-determined points, e.g. 50% of allowance used.

I’ve tailored this system for me, but everyone’s usage is different, so a little homework before embarking on mobile working is worthwhile, and if you’re travelling for a holiday, leave the gadgets at home and go cold turkey!

When he’s working at home Alan is a crime fiction writer, and writes about his novels, dogs and other matters on his blog

Posted in: Technology

3 Comments on "How to stay powered up when mobile working"

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  1. My partner has a Gorilla as power back up for when he’s out working.

  2. Alan says:

    The Gorilla is a great piece of tech, plenty of portable power.