Forget what you see on social media about working remotely by a sunny beach while sipping cocktails decorated with colourful tiny umbrellas. You may get to enjoy it, occasionally, but only after several hours in front of a laptop, trying to get as much work done as humanly possible.
And if you decide to take remote work seriously – and by that, I mean: not a weekend away but longer periods away from a traditional office and desk – a good anywhere worker will have to arrive prepared at his/her next destination.
Here are the five items I can’t leave my home without when going away to work from a new location.
A reliable hard drive
Don’t trust your laptop. It doesn’t matter how much you spent, if it is a reputable make, or if you just bought it before setting off on the road to work at a different city or country. Sometimes they just… caput. So, make sure you have a copy of your main folders saved on an external HD. Client’s logos, branding guidelines and all projects you intend to be working on over the next few days. If you have problems with your laptop and need to send it to be repaired, at least you will have material to work on from a public library, internet cafe, or a borrowed computer. Clients rarely understand how temperamental technology can be, especially when deadlines are at stake.
A backup plan for your WIFI
Booked an Airbnb or hotel that promised the best and fastest WIFI in the world? Don’t trust anyone. Even modern accommodations can often struggle with providing decent internet connection for people working while staying with them. Remember that, most of the time, the complimentary WIFI is intended to attend to the low demand of people travelling for tourism. Hence, many hotels and private accommodation hosts don’t offer high-speed internet for those in need of uploading large documents, for example. You are simply not their target audience. The best way to be prepared for this is to check with your cellphone provider the costs for using data abroad and to search for plans that allow you to threader data to other devices, so you can connect it to your work laptop when your local internet abroad is down or non-existent.
Universal travel adaptor wall plug
You would think that someone that decides to travel and work from another city or country would check what sort of power sockets your destination uses – and buy, beforehand, a suitable one.
But things aren’t usually that simple.
By the way: pack your universal travel adaptor in your hand luggage. Once I had to pay $85 for one, at an airport, after arriving at a destination and being informed my luggage was lost.
Airports, train stations, and coffee shops can get busy at times – and the constant travel announcements and screaming kids can be very distracting.
To stay focused and alert, spend some money on a pair of quality headphones that have noise-canceling capabilities to cut background noise. At the end of the day, the other way is also true: people don’t want to hear your clients talking about Excels and budgets while they’re trying to calmly enjoy their coffee.
A powerful power bank
Power banks are remote working essentials for a very obvious reason: if you experience a sudden electricity failure or the battery of your laptop or cellphone is about to die, you don’t want to be looking for a power socket that mightn’t be available. This point really comes home when working in shared spaces, or from airports that offer a limited amount of those wall plugs for security reasons.
Forget the fancy and small power banks. Instead, go for the ones offering higher storage and charging speed, even if they cost way more than what you would like to be spending. You will thank me for that later, believe me.