These days, it's not uncommon for mobile workers to have a variety of "office" options from which to choose when working remotely. Whether reporting to a formal workplace or plugging in at the coffee shop, mobile workers are asked to be flexible when it comes to finding places to be productive.
With updated technology, WiFi, and all kinds of "smart devices" it's really no big deal to work from home, from a local coffee shop, from your car, on the subway or in between games at your kid's double-header.
While working remotely can be really convenient, it does require a little planning ahead to assure you have the tools and space you need to be as productive as you can be.
related: working from home: a year in review
1. Make sure you can focus.
If you're constantly interrupted every 5 minutes, you won't be productive no matter where your office is located.
Whether you're sitting at your desk being interrupted by other coworkers, at home being interrupted by kids or neighbors, or at a local coffee shop being interrupted by friends who are stopping in, it's still an interruption and all those interruptions will drastically affect your productivity.
If you're like me, you just want to focus, get the work done as quickly as possible, and then move on. So find a spot (or a few spots) where you can focus on whatever type of work you need to do — and then use those locations as your "anywhere office" when you have the opportunity to work remotely.
2. Make sure you have the necessary tools.
This will look different for every person depending on what type of work you need to do — but most of the time for me, I need my laptop (and charger), my portable laptop tray, my phone, pens, sticky notes, my planner, and access to the internet.
I keep everything in my laptop case so that I'm ready to go whenever I need to get to work. I can literally take my office with me anywhere in my house or anywhere with WiFi!
If you're constantly working on-the-go, I'd suggest keeping a bag, briefcase, backpack, or large purse with all your essentials. Slip in a snack or two, a bottle of water, a few extra pens, and you're good to go whenever you have a spare moment to work.
3. Make sure you're comfortable.
I've spent many hours working inside my car — even while it sits in my garage. People tell me I'm crazy, but working in my car is comfortable for me since most of the time, I just need access to my laptop and our home's WiFi (both of which I have in my car).
If you have a favorite work location that's super comfortable for you, go ahead and work there as you're bound to be more productive.
On the contrary, if you find yourself working somewhere that's not comfortable (too small, too crowded, too loud, too hot, too cold, etc.) it might be time to seek out another spot. Obviously, we're not always in control of where we work, but I've personally found that if my "anywhere work place" is comfortable, I get in my zone much quicker and ultimately accomplish more in less time.
4. Make sure the environment is appropriate for the task.
If you are supposed to have a phone conference, you'll most likely want to be in a quiet place. Jumping on a conference call on the subway or at your kid's baseball game is not only rude to those around and to the others on the call, but it's also going to make you look less professional.
Likewise, if you're doing a video chat with a client, make sure your space is quiet, somewhat decluttered, and has good lighting. Backlit video chats end up making you appear shrouded and unrecognizable, which is not only unflattering, but distracting for the person on the other end of the call.
If you need to do a lot of reading or writing, make sure you can achieve focus without constant distractions (see #1)
Another thing to think about is confidentiality. If you'll be working with confidential or private information, you'll want to make sure you are not working in a public place or potentially letting others have access to documents or be within earshot of your private phone call.
These are just a few simple things to consider if you have the type of job that allows you to work almost anywhere. By taking these factors into consideration, you will certainly boost your work-time productivity — which ultimately means less time working and more time doing anything else you enjoy!
Where is your favorite "anywhere office" location?