17 - Mobile OfficeMore and more people have the flexibility to work from home but if you find yourself doing more chores than work, it might be time to hit the road and find a good place to be productive. Before leaving your home or office, make sure to bring what you’ll need to be a savvy mobile worker.

Good Locations
Usually the first place to make your “office away from office” is the local coffee shop. To not wear out your welcome, here are the basics of coffee shop etiquette. Don’t take up too much space; use a smaller table or share a table with another mobile worker. Turn your phone to vibrate and go outside to make or take phone calls. Be sure you’re actually supporting the coffee shop by buying and tipping. You can also apply this to restaurants you might want to work from.

If a coffee shop or restaurant is too noisy, try your local library; they’ll usually have more seating and power outlets. You can even try a co-working space to see if you dig the vibe but know that the “rent” typically starts at around $200/month. If you have a mobile hotspot or can tether to your phone, you can work anywhere you have mobile phone reception; for example: that gazebo in the park, the picnic table at lake, or the lawn chair at the beach.

The Gear
What do you need for your line of work to make your office portable? Check out a few inspiring ideas from Lifehacker.com.

While putting together your own kit, consider which of these items you’ll use:

  • laptop/netbook/tablet
  • power cord & small power strip
  • spare battery (if you’re working from a place that lacks power outlets)
  • phone (and cable to charge and/or tether)
  • mobile hot spot (if you’re working from a place that doesn’t have Wireless Internet)
  • headphones
  • external/flash drives
  • pen & paper
  • business cards

Data Protection
When working out and about, it’s a good idea to take a few precautions to protect your laptop and data. Be sure to install tracking software like Prey or LoJack for laptops in case your laptop ever gets stolen. Also, use a password on your laptop and encrypt sensitive material; this would keep any would be thieves from actually accessing your data. Know “Defenses against the snoop sharing your Internet connection” to protect your Internet activity. Last but not least, always have a current backup of your data.

Other Tips

  • Just like at your regular office, don’t forget to take breaks to stretch and regularly check your posture.
  • If you have more than one computer or device, keep your files synchronized using a program like Dropbox or Google Drive.