Business on the Go — Setting Up Your Mobile Office

I finally switched to a smartphone a few years ago when my travel really picked up. I needed to have access to emails wherever I was and I didn’t always want to carry my laptop.

I was thinking about that the other day, and how it’s not uncommon for me to Skype with colleagues from my smartphone, which means I’m not tethered to my desk.

What else do you need to ensure your business can be mobile?

Consider the devices you will need.

A smartphone means you will have access to many apps. I already mentioned Skype. I also have apps for the airlines I fly most frequently. This is helpful if my flight is cancelled and I need to rebook. I also can find out what gate I need to get to instead of craning over heads at the monitors.

Laptops are ideal for businesses on the go, but they’re almost obsolete now as tablets have taken center stage. Although tablets aren’t always easy to use for lots of typing, if you purchase the add-on keyboard, it greatly enhances your productivity. I was all set to replace my laptop that is way too many years old. Now, though, I think I’ll hold onto it and buy a tablet instead. I still like a laptop as the screen is slightly larger making it ideal for home use. If you aren’t sure which table or laptop to buy check out this recent article.

Another device you will want is a wireless printer so you can print from any of your devices.

If you travel frequently, you may want to purchase a mobile hotspot, a device you can purchase from any cellular company that is less than the size of a pack of playing cards. It allows you to connect to the internet when a free WIFI connection is not available. There is usually no contract and you purchase what you need. If you are only using email or browsing the Web, then you won’t use much data. Downloading and streaming means high data usage and more costs. If you don’t purchase enough, you will have the option to purchase more or the session will close if you don’t.

Other things to consider for your mobile office include the operating system you plan to use (Windows or Mac), the type of calendar you will use and how to merge personal and professional calendars to keep everything straight. You should also look at GPS for getting to and from meetings. While this list is by no means complete it should get you started.

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