Decided you’re ready to be a road warrior? If you haven’t tried to pull it off before, be advised you’ll need to have a few tricks up your sleeve in order to successfully manage a mobile office. Everything from filing to dealing with messages will be radically different, especially for those used to functioning with a secretary or personal assistant.
Staying in touch from the road is critical to mobile office management. You can certainly stick with a basic cell phone, but traveling with a tablet device can be a more helpful solution for those with more to juggle than a quick conversation or two. It also saves you from having to completely fire up your laptop between flights.
Part of operating a successful mobile office is balancing how much you need to bring along with your need to pack light. Online cloud storage can work for anything from travel photography and document preparation to video production and backpack journalism. You may also need to carry extra photo chips and a portable drive, for those times when internet access is sketchy. And of course, there’s always the trusty thumb drive.
No matter how careful you try to be when dealing with your itinerary, additional costs will arise. There are certain easily-avoided travel expenses however, including breakfast out, Wi-Fi and more. Other tips for staying on financial track with your business trips include avoiding a rental car when possible and choosing a hotel near several necessary venues in order to kick cab costs to the curb.
I read any business article that says the author has gone completely digital with a bit of skepticism. Why? Well, for starters, even though it’s possible to greatly reduce the paper tiger on the road, there are still numerous times per day when I’m handed a coffee receipt, traditional paper press kit or hard copy of my hotel bill. Sure, there are phone apps for capturing images but there’s also this thing called life, which has you grabbing your taxi ticket while stepping out into the rain and running half a block where your next field research contact or sales appointment is waiting with – you guessed it – your next paper itinerary for the day.
You say you had plans to scan everything you needed to file your expense report at the hotel tonight? Tough cookies, sister. Your last appointment of the evening is running late and oh yeah, tomorrow morning’s flight got cancelled and now you need to spend the next several hours seeing if you have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of the city you’re in and on your way back home before that afternoon blizzard hits. Welcome to my world. I’m not saying to ignore the digital solutions at your disposal. What I am saying is that sometimes the best you can do is stuff and run, hoping you’ll have time to deal with everything before the tipping details become fuzzy. [Use this great free app to keep track of your expenses]
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If you’re looking for inexpensive overhead solutions for your business or mobile office, consider ones that are easily relocated from place to place. Industrial shelving for example makes for inexpensive file box storage as well as an easy standing desk, and can be taken apart with a rubber mallet for use in the spare bedroom of your next apartment. Got a vegan hot dog cart? Tow it behind your scooter or compact car when you switch fair grounds.
While managing a mobile office is rarely a cakewalk, there are tools and strategies to make it more bearable. This article covers several solutions you have at your disposal.