If you’re reading this Blog in your cubicle or office I have two words for you “GET OUT!” With all of the technology we have at our disposal why subject yourself to working in a windowless, cramped, recirculated oxygen environment. You can be just as productive working from any location like your backyard, the park, the beach, the waterfront etc. so get out of the office and work and I don’t mean hanging out at the local Starbucks, I mean get out and see the city or town you live in.
If you’re an employer consider the amount of time your employees spend getting to work fighting through crowded trains and buses sitting in traffic for more than an hour only to arrive to work in a bad mood caused by the trauma of commuting. Let your employees work outside where they can get inspiration from nature and other surroundings reduce the commute time and the trauma associated with it and watch your staff become more productive.
Yes I’m making a bold statement but its possible and easy to transfer your work space to anywhere in the world. To make the transition from your office to the outdoors you will need a few items that are easy to get.
The first item is a Wi-Fi hotspot device. These devices are carried by all of the major mobile providers and allow you to create a wi-fi hotspot so you can connect several Internet devices like laptops, tablets, netbbooks etc. This week I have been testing the Clear 4G Hotspot device. Clear claims that you can connect up to 8 devices which is 3 more than most of the mobile carriers however, I noticed that the Internet speed decreases when more than 4 devices are connected. When we connected 8 devices it felt like we entered the way back machine and arrived in the 1990s when 56K modems were a big hit. Clear provides downloads speeds of about 6Mbps and upload speeds of 1 Mbps which is excellent for connecting several devices to the Internet and there are no data usage fees which is unlike many of the mobile carriers. One additional note: Clear does not have full nationwide 4G service so be sure to check for your city on the coverage map.
Some smartphones can also create a wi-fi hotspot like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G that will allow you to connect several Internet devices. The main drawback with using your smartphone as a hotspot is your phone’s battery life will decrease faster than normal. I used the hotspot feature on my Galaxy S 4G and my battery was drained in less than 4 hours. If you’re going to use a smartphone to create a hotspot, then invest in an additional battery.
The next item is your phone, the lifeblood of your business. I know you’re used to having someone physically answer the phone and direct calls through that clunky PBX system hosted in your hallway closet. Now there are better alternatives to the old PBX system like VOIP. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and several years ago VOIP was a mess. The hardware and software constantly crashed. But that was the past, today VOIP services have greatly improved and they provide cost savings and some superior technology that you can’t get with your old PBX system.
We use RingCentral for our business phone service. We like the ring me anywhere feature where when a call comes into to my line and I don’t respond it rings my other lines like my home or cell phone allowing me to answer the call as if I was in the office. RingCentral also has an app for smartphones that let me make calls through my business line so it conserves my cell phone minutes and the call is perceived as coming from my office for that professional look.
I know you still have to access your work files and there’s a solution for that. Cloud hosting services like Dropbox, Huddle, Google Docs, and Box gives you the power to host your work content on the Internet making it accessible to you where ever you have Internet connection. We use Huddle because we’re able to set up different groups to share files, tasks, discuss ideas in a chatroom or plan processes on the whiteboard. Huddle also has an iPad app that allows me to manage my tasks and work files on my iPad.
The last umbilical cord that needs to be cut to free you to work outdoors is the work station, the desktop computer the old soon to be extinct dinosaur that occupies that large space in your cubicle. They’re money pits that need regular transfusions from IT departments to keep them going. The same tasks that are being done on those old dinosaurs are now being done on tablets like iPads and Xooms, and Galaxy Tablets. The iPhone, iPad and Android app market feature some powerful apps for making you more productive on a tablet or smartphone than you were on those old dinosaur workstations. I’ve been so productive using my iPad for daily work that I wrote a Blog post titled “I Finally Like My iPad ” where I discuss some of the apps that make my iPad a productive business tool.
You now have all the basic tools need to cut the office cord and work outside. There are other items like software and apps that will manage billable hours, invoicing etc. but you gave every tool and reason to get outdoors and become inspired by all that is around you.
Join me in a national week of Get Outdoors and Work. Lets fill the parks, promenades and public spaces with hard working employees making new contacts, feeling less stresses from commuting and having fun at work again.
See you outdoors