With more people working from home, or as traveling personnel, it has become increasingly important to be able to work in a mobile environment. With the automobile still the most popular form of transportation, it is becoming increasingly important to create an exceptional setup in your car to accomplish your daily work tasks. My dad always taught me to “work smarter, not harder” and with a smart mobile office setup, you will be spending more time with the family and less time working from the car.
Lets start from the front of the car and work our way back, as when in a car 90% of your time is spent in the drivers seat (the other 10% are in the passenger seat while napping on lunch hours). The most obvious way to improve production, as well as ensuring safety, is to implement some sort of hands free device for cell phone usage. There are a plethora of devices on the market now: speaker phone units which clip on your visor, bluetooth headsets and higher end integrated devices that stream the audio through your stereo speakers. Whatever your flavor, please implement one of these options even if you stop reading at this point.
The next item to pick up is some sort of cell phone holder that enables you to easily see whom is calling when the phone rings, or to easily make outgoing calls. I believe it is even more dangerous to be fumbling around looking for your phone in the console of your car than it is actually speaking on it while driving. I personally use a ProClip mounting system but there are a number of options on the market.
Laptops, netbooks and tablets are the machines of choice for the road warrior, but few have the battery life to get you through a day on the road. A high quality power inverter is a key piece of equipment to ensure your computer has juice when you need it. I suggest an inverter instead of a auto adapter for your computer as an inverter will be much more versatile and you will be able to power a wide variety of devices.
Moving to the backseat, or rear of the car depending on what type of vehicle you have, I would implement some sort of cooler feature into your mobile office. It can be a simple styrofoam cooler or you can go fancy with a cooler that actually plugs right into the power outlet in your car. This may seem like a strange suggestion, but with today’s economy it’s important to save as much money as possible, and if you add up all those stops at the drive through window, while also factoring in the fact that a soda costs upwards of $2 at a 7-11, it’s easy to see where the savings will add up. Stock up on water and soda in the car when you can purchase it in bulk, make your lunch to bring it with you, or if you have a powered cooler, just stock it with different lunch items so you don’t have to hassle with preparing lunch in the morning.
Finally, implement some sort of filing system in the truck or back of your car and make sure it is stocked with the supplies you frequently use such as order forms or receipts. I suggest making sort sort of system where you stock up on supplies once a week or so. I would typically stock all supplies on a Friday afternoon for the next week. Yes, this is not typically what one would choose to do after a hard week’s work, but I would be less enamored to perform this task Sunday evening before the work week begins.
With these few low cost and simple steps you can make you mobile office even more efficient as a physical office as you will no longer have co-workers chatting your ear off about the previous nights Survivor episode. You will be more productive, make more money and have more time to spend doing the things you work so hard to enjoy.
What types of tricks do you implement to make your mobile office more productive? I’m sure you will come up with some interesting ideas that I have left out.