Thanks to highly functional technique and collaboration tools, working today is no longer limited by location. Most workers often find themselves working on the road and simultaneously manage the demands of work combined with strains of travel. To not geographically need to remain in one spot at an office to complete your tasks is a luxury that should be cherished when given.
So how do the 21st century workers do it? Can you really be as productive when you’re traveling rather than at your desk? Can you really accomplish all your tasks when you don’t have access to WIFI? The simple answer is that it’s possible, you just need to be strategic and organized. We have tried to cover these questions with a few tips and tricks to stay motivated and on top of your game, while on the road.
1. Figure out what you can do with and without WIFI
Pretty much all businesses today are in some way or another dependent of internet access, both for internal and external operations. Ensuring you are able stay connected on the road is oftentimes crucial to not fall behind. You may however not have WIFI for every leg of your journey, so carefully plan ahead what you can and can’t do without internet. Some projects can be worked on all throughout the trip- and some can’t. If you have a long car ride ahead of you, use that time to schedule calls. If you don’t have internet while waiting at the gate, use the time to proofread your latest presentation. Tasks that require WIFI are usually less advisable on scarce travel days, it could for some reason be more costly than you expected or simply unavailable. Choose projects that will be improved rather than limited.
If you do however deem it necessary for upcoming tasks, try to book travel options that have reliable WIFI services, and be prepared to pay that little extra to upgrade. In addition, you may want to invest in a mobile hotspot to guarantee that you can remain online when needed and be prepared for disconnection no matter how reliable the WIFI is. Also, make sure you download the files needed beforehand so you can access it even when disconnected. This allows you to maximize your time and still remain productive on the road.
2. Schedule and book
A normal work day usually includes a combination of different tasks, maybe a phone call or two, a meeting, presentations and working alone. Plan your trip around what you’ll be doing for the designated hours every day. For example, maybe avoid the presentation with colleagues when you know you’ll be sitting on an airplane waiting to for everyone to board, that said- unless you want a really annoyed person sitting next to you for the upcoming hours.
For every part of the journey we recommend building a schedule to make sure you’re always in the right setting to carry out the responsibilities you have on the plate. To optimize tasks for transportation, think about what type of environment will help you accomplish certain tasks. Maybe take a phone call in the rental car with handsfree option and read that never-ending document that’s perfectly suited for a long train ride.
3. Downsize your Devices
While travelling you might not want to bring your fully-fledged gear and end up having to take out all of it on a tray in the security line. Laptops are portable, and even switching to a notebook, tablet or just simply using your phone can also be convenient depending on the work that you have in front of you. You can toss one of these smaller devices in your carry-on and knock out e-mails, answer calls, share documents and even video conference while away. If you need to type, there are plenty of options now of portable keyboards for your tablet. Whatever you choose, get familiar with your new devices beforehand to ensure that it performs to the extent that you need in order to work the best. Also, when using smaller devices; make sure you have a good power bank or an extra battery if you ever were to be stranded waiting for a delayed flight.
4. Have faith in the cloud
Even if it’s rare to use binders and print all your important papers today, there are things on your desk that might come in handy, for example your hard disk. Make sure you extend the memory in your cloud services so it can room all your needed documents. The cloud is exceptionally ideal for working on the road because it not only gives you access to documents, but it also allows you to share files from anywhere. Google drive and Dropbox are among the famous cloud storage applications that may come in handy on the road.
5. Get in the work spirit
Maybe you’re easily distracted or can’t get focused in your hotel room and prefer working in a coffee shop. Or maybe it’s the opposite, you find cafes loud and prefer the hotel room. Regardless of where you choose to work, you need ot be comfortable and free from distractions. Most cafés have WIFI today so check out the local selection before you decide on the best option. Another good idea is to get a pair of noise cancelling headphones that’ll shut out any unnecessary distractions so you can fully submerge into your work. Regardless of where you choose to work, you need ot be comfortable and free from distractions. Most cafés have WIFI today so check out the local selection before you decide on the best option.
6. Book wisely, time is of essence
Even though you want the cheaper flight and don’t want to hassle the company with extra costs, if a shorter flight will help you land into work and perform better while travelling, it’s worth it. For example; a faster train could mean a fuller day without having to wake up before 5am and still remain in snooze mode while trying to write important agreements. Also, paying a little bit extra could include amenities like WIFI on the way. If your company is on a tight budget, talk to your boss about the elements of your trip where paying a little extra could save you a lot of time and help you complete your work. See if there are any compensations you can make. Maybe stay in an Airbnb, use the subway for short commutes or rent a cheaper car – but preferably always get direct flights so you can skip the unproductive layover hours.
If you do however have to wait around in a layover, the longer the better to get productive. If you only have 10 minutes of time to work until the next flight, it won’t be very useful. So what can you do to make the best out of that layover time? Budget at least 45 minutes at the gate and get your Starbucks beforehand. The time at the gate may be a useful in case a work crisis pops up. Plus if you have a little more time before boarding for unpredicted work, you will be able to respond with more than “catch you later!”.
7. Prep work in advance
Putting a few extra hours before an upcoming trip can help save you time in in many instances. Even on the most productive travel days, getting the same amount of work done is still not comparable to a normal work day at the office. Knock out an extra project or two before going and give yourself a parachute in case you have to spend an extra hour in traffic. Also, if you get work done in advance, and the trip goes smoothly, you can always use the extra time on your hands to sleep a little longer, explore wherever you are, or treat yourself with an extra-long and fancy lunch.