7 Tips for Setting Up a Rugged Mobile Workspace
Does your office space look less like this...
...and more like this?
As you well know, when you travel for work, things can get disorganized quickly. Luckily, we have some tips on how to set up (or re-design) your rugged mobile office (or workspace) to be more comfortable, organized, and efficient.
1. Have a Home base
It may seem like common sense, but it needs to be said. Try to decide on one spot where you will keep your supplies (paper, pens, business cards, paperclips, etc.) and keep it organized! This will prevent you from running around trying to find things, especially when you're already in a rush.
If you want to easily (and affordably) get started on organizing your mobile office, Duluth Trading Co. has some affordable options, such as their Cab Commander and Seat Back Organizer. These organizers can be used in and out of your vehicle- just unbuckle it from around the seat and re-buckle it to carry it over your shoulder, or in hand.
However, if you're in need of more long-term organization options for a work truck or van, Gamber-Johnson and American Van have a lot of great solutions, such as mobile workstation boxes, and van desks.
2. Consider Consolidating
Wires can get jumbled up easily when you're on the move, and it can be a pain to set up your work area over and over again- plugging and unplugging wires.
One solution to this problem is to go wireless- turn on the Bluetooth on your laptop or tablet to use wireless headphones, keyboards, mice, and more.
Another solution is to use a powered dock or port replicator. These devices allow you to leave the connections that you need plugged into the device (and hidden away), therefore, when you dock your computer on the port replicator or powered dock, you're automatically connected. No-fuss.
3. Remember Mobile Data
If you travel frequently, especially long-distance or to more remote locations, it's important to figure out how you will stay connected to the internet.
A mobile data card is a chip that allows you to connect to the internet by working alongside your SIM card. As long as you have an activated SIM card from your cellular provider, you will be able to connect to the internet through cellular data instead of WiFi, virtually whenever or wherever you want.
4. Think About Transportation
If you travel frequently for business and plan on taking your laptop or tablet with you- in and out of your vehicle, or for long distances on foot- you might want to consider utilizing a shoulder strap, hand strap, or bag.
Most of us have been in the unfortunate position of having too much to carry and not enough arms- the good news is, it doesn't have to be that way!
The even better news? They won't cost you more than $100, and they're super easy to install.
5. Seek Out the Right Screen
Traveling frequently also means that you will have to contend with all types of lighting during your workday. If you find yourself squinting to see your screen in bright sunlight or through the blue light in dark conditions, it's time to think about getting a screen with a higher nit count, or finding a film for your screen to reduce eye strain.
Generally speaking, if you plan to frequently work outside in bright conditions, the higher the nit count the better. We recommend 1000 nits and up. Check out our highest nit models here(the CF-19 MK5-8, CF-33, and CF-31 MK 1,3 and 4-6-in order of brightness).
For darker conditions, a screen film that helps to block out blue light and screen glare (if your computer doesn't already have an anti-glare screen), along with a backlit keyboard (so that you can more easily see the keys in the dark) will keep you from having the discomfort that comes with doing work on a laptop in low light conditions.
Price-wise, blue light/anti-glare films for your computer screen usually run from $10-$30, and backlit keyboards cost between $20-$100. Therefore, in our opinion, they are simply a no-brainer.
6. Adequately Accessorize
Next, accessories for your mobile office may not seem very important, but for ultimate comfort and convenience, they really are.
Think about it: with a mobile printer, you don't have to wait to get back to the office to print something.
When you have a stylus, you can easily sign documents (without having to use your finger and struggle to get it right).
Having hot-swappable (AKA bridge) or extended batteries means that even in the field, you will have plenty of battery life.
All of these accessories can make a big difference in the quality and efficiency of your work day.
7. Create Comfort
Sitting and working in a car, van, or truck (or even on a boat or plane) can get quite uncomfortable at times. Luckily, there are things you can do to change that. For example, if you work primarily out of a car, van, or truck, think about getting a mount for your laptop so that you can easily adjust it to see it from any angle. This will help you to avoid neck and eye strain.
If you work on boats frequently, you might want to consider using a rubber keyboard that you can easily wipe off if it gets wet, and covers to protect your computer's ports if it doesn't currently have them.
Additionally, If you frequently find yourself traveling through airports and on planes, consider a high-quality lap desk and noise-canceling wireless headphones. Let's be honest, typing on a wobbly fold-down table with the sound of babies crying around you probably isn't going to be an ideal way to complete your work.
These items typically cost no more than $300. So, why not make your life easier (and more peaceful)?
The more convenient and comfortable your workstation or workspace, the more productive you will be! You will spend much less time looking for things, setting things up, dealing with spotty internet, trying to get comfortable, and wasting precious time overall.
If you're still thinking- "well, I'll just be uncomfortable and deal with it- I don't want to spend extra money"- we strongly urge you to reconsider. Think of the value of your time versus the cost of these items- as the saying goes: "time is money".
More importantly, think about the effect a disorganized (and less than optimal) mobile workstation has on your health- from the unneeded stress that comes with a messy workspace to unnecessary aches and pains due to straining your neck and eyes.
So, the question remains- what are your productivity and well-being worth to you?