Let’s face it, sometimes you have to take the show on the road. The good news is that as more and more business can be done remotely there’s no reason you can’t turn that work trip into an enjoyable, advantageous excursion that’ll feed your bottom line and your soul.
So how can you schedule meetings, oversee an all day photo shoot, get through your emails, make boutique calls for clients and still actually explore your destination? The trick is to balance the work/fun ratio. Tiffany Napper and I complied some of the best working-from-the-road advice we’ve heard for you below. Get ready to hit the road!
Be open. The joy of working while traveling is the possibility of meeting new people, discovering new ideas, and keeping your creative juices flowing. Strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to you. Walk an extra block and take in the scenery. Do whatever you can to find a balance between getting the job done and enjoying the freedom that comes from working on the road.
Be disciplined. Adhere to your same working hours as much as possible, and if you change time zones, turn on an email disclaimer alerting your customers, clients and coworkers that you might not be available during normal hours due to travel. Also, if you have standing conference calls in place, make sure you set alerts on your phone, and update them according to your new time zone.
Plan ahead. You will need to spend a little time looking for the perfect temporary office. Winging it can result in a location not conducive to work. We prefer a local coffee shop, and suggest using Yelp to vet the ones that are close by. Obviously, tables and chairs are mandatory, as is Wi-Fi. Check the reviews for tips on internet strength. No bars means no work done. Also, don’t forget to tip your barista well, so they aren’t annoyed when you are there for a few hours.
Reach out. Before heading to a new location we like to do some research on the local movers and shakers. Track down some like-minded folks through a quick blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram search. Then, send them an invite to meet for coffee or a drink. At the most, you’ll meet a future colloborator and expand your network of contacts. At the least, you’ll get suggestions on what to eat, see, hear and do from a local.
*A cautionary note on this one: use your good judgement and be safe. Meet in public places and keep the drinks to a minimum. When in doubt, use the buddy system.
Have a Plan B. Even though you planned ahead sometimes things just don’t go as you intended. You arrive to the well-researched coffee shop only to find it is blaring heavy metal music or there are no available chairs or tables. If you don’t prepare a back-up plan, this could cause a negative kneejerk reaction and derail your whole day. Instead, wake up 15minutes earlier than usual, develop a Plan A and a Plan B, take a deep breath and hit the road. That’s when you’ll find the magic of working on the go.
Schedule in a day of fun. It’s easy to get bogged down with deadlines and the stress that comes with travel. Make sure you give yourself permission to take a day (or at least an afternoon) where every minute isn’t scheduled out. People watch. Write in your journal. Go on a quick walking tour. Research some local history. Or, in our case, head to a whiskey tasting. It’s important to take a breath and enjoy your surroundings. This is what travel is all about after all!
Other no-brainer tips:
- Don’t forget your chargers, and maybe even a mini surge protector. It’s a great way to make friends at a coffee shop when you both need an outlet but there’s only one to spare.
- Invest in a nice laptop and a sleeve to protect it from the wear and tear that comes with traveling.
- Set up a hot spot on your phone, for those emergency wifi situations.
- Travel with a pair of headphones. You won’t be able to take that conference call or get into a zone nearly as easily in a public space without them.
This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued.
*photos courtesy of Dominique Ellis and Jennifer Kay.