In my post last week, I mentioned a mobile office, and while I’ve used one in some capacity for years, it occurred to me that others have not. As more companies allow people to work from home, I thought it might help to share what I keep in my mind so that everyone can work from wherever they want!
The bag is one of the most important things. If it’s not big or strong enough, it won’t carry your things. If it’s not well-organized, you either can’t find anything or have to completely unpack it to work. Neither is ideal. I recommend a scrapbooking bag or a diaper bag, but if you’re willing to pay a bit more, you can use a bag designed for a mobile office.
Maybe you use a laptop for work, maybe you can get by with just a tablet, maybe you need both. Computers and electronics are, of course, up to your personal preferences, but I’m a fan of Sony Vaio and Lenovo laptops. If you’re looking for a tablet, right now I have Samsung, and it’s…fine, although I’ve had issues with the company. My next tablet will likely be an IPad or a Windows Surface – I want much better handwriting recognition!
Get a portable battery so that you can work from wherever without worrying about running out of charge. This one from Anker will keep you powered up for a long time on multiple devices. Just remember to recharge it at night!
You likely will want access to Wi-fi. In the USA, it’s generally pretty easy to find free wi-fi somewhere, but if you’re traveling the world while you work, I strongly recommend a pocket hotspot – a lot of countries don’t have widespread internet.
You definitely want to have paper handy. I know everything’s going digital these days, but sometimes you just need to scratch out a quick note. Someone in sales might be able to get away with a simple legal pad folio, or a small spiral-bound notebook, whereas a writer may need a full binder. Either way, make sure you keep it organized.
This goes hand-in-hand with the folio. Pack a few of your preferred pens in various colors – black, red, blue to start – as well as a few highlighters. You can also put a tablet stylus in here, if you use one.
Expanding File Folder
This is the best way to store your paperwork. You can keep it organized, you can label it, and once a week, you can go through it so you only carry the essentials with you. Use it for expense report receipts, notes, research, time trackers, and so on.
Don’t forget the charging cords for your different devices, or you won’t be able to use the power bank!
Sometimes you need to drown out background noise. Use earbuds to listen to a music playlist or find an ambient noise soundtrack online. They also come in handy if you need to make a call in a public place, allowing you to use your phone hands-free, keep the call relatively private, and block out most noise. These are worth investing a bit more money in a good pair.
Technically, this won’t go in your bag, but it’s good to have set up. I have a cloud drive set up on my website, but you may want to use Google Drive or Dropbox, or another service. Backing everything up to the cloud means you’ll never be without your files, so if you need to access something on a different device, you can!
There’s other things to take into account, depending on your work. Nowadays, there’s so many options, you can find a portable version of just about anything you need. A scanning wand allows you to reduce the amount of papers you have to carry around, whereas a portable printer lets you print records or invoices wherever you are. Think about your daily tasks and make sure you have the tools you need.
Studies have shown that people who work from home (or the coffee shop) are often more productive, so make yourself mobile!