Small business owners don’t always have the luxury of closing up shop to enjoy a vacation. If this sounds familiar and you can’t take time off from work in the form of a “real” vacation this summer, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at your desk. You can take your work with you by creating a mobile office. Follow these tips to get started.
1. Pick the Best Device
The first step is to think about the type of work you’ll be doing so you can determine what type of device is best suited for your needs. Will you need to access files remotely? Will you need specific software and apps? Do you need to conduct meetings while you’re away? Think through your work process and make a list of the technology needed to accomplish it. Keep in mind that while you may be able to conduct some business from your smartphone, you’ll most likely need a laptop or at least a tablet to create a fully functional mobile office.
2. Get a Secure Internet Connection
When it comes to an Internet connection while working on the go, your initial thought may be that this won’t be a problem because there are so many free WiFi hotspots out there. This could be problematic. Free WiFi often isn’t secure, and if you use these connections while working, you are opening up a whole host of security problems. Instead, opt for setting up a personal hotspot with your smartphone, using a device that comes with its own secure data plan, or use a MiFi—a separate wireless router that acts as a private hotspot you can use to tether your computer for Internet access.
3. Leverage the Cloud
The cloud allows you access files and data from anywhere you are, provided you have an Internet connection. This eliminates the need to save data to an external device or email yourself all the files you think you’ll need access to while you’re away (which runs the risk of forgetting something). Using a cloud-based backup service will not only give you secure access to all of your files, but it will also automatically back up your data from every device you work on, allowing collaboration while preventing version control issues.
4. Create a Mobile Office “Go Pack”
To create a functional mobile office, you may need more than just an Internet-connected device. It’s important to have all of this equipment packed up and ready to go so you can take off when the opportunity presents itself. Take note of all of the equipment you use every day and make a list of what you would need to duplicate your setup remotely. This may mean you need a portable scanner or printer, a USB drive, a wireless mouse, a surge protector, and specific software and applications (make sure your apps are all updated before you leave!). It’s also a good idea to have a backup battery and a power cord with you so you can stay connected.
Once you have your mobile office ready to go, you’ll be able to get out of the office on a regular basis, giving yourself a new working environment and a fresh perspective whenever you need it.