So you’re headed on a business trip in a few days. Whether it’s a one-day car ride halfway across the state, or a three-day junket cross-country by plane, you’re probably giving some thought right now to getting your mobile office organized.
What should you bring? What’s a must have versus a nice to have (after all, there’s only so much you can squeeze into your business briefcase)? What can’t you do without, and what can you leave behind?
If you’re a mobile office veteran, chances are you’ve become quite good at knowing what to bring based on where you’re going and who you’re meeting with. Then again, reminders never hurt. Here’s my Top Ten list of “Mobile Office Musts”—those things you absolutely, positively, don’t want to be without:
1. Your laptop or tablet. This item should be self-evident. Without a laptop or tablet, you’re not going to be very productive now, are you? If you use a desktop in the office, be sure to sync files, especially if you’re going to need to access them while offline (such as in an airplane).
2. Wireless mouse/keypad. I don’t know many people who actually like their laptop track pad, except in those instances where they can’t use a regular mouse. If you haven’t already, invest in a wireless mouse for an instant productivity bounce. Better yet, invest in a wireless keyboard. You’ll appreciate the feel of a real keyboard vs your laptop’s keyboard.
3. Chargers/Cords for your Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone. Don’t commit the ultimate mobile office faux pas and leave your laptop power cord behind. Your batteries will only last so long. The same goes for your tablet, smartphone, and other accessories. It’s lots of cords, but you’d be nowhere fast without them.
4. Headphones. The advantages to bringing headphones are two-fold. Playing tunes or watching an in-flight program is a great way to pass time in the air. Earbuds with a built-in mic are a great for taking calls on your smartphone without having to deal with annoying background noise.
5. USB Drive. If you don’t have cloud storage (such as Google Drive, iDrive, and Dropbox) or a backup service such as carbonite, you should. If you don’t or aren’t able to get online, back up essential data and make it portable by using a USB flash drive. Many affordable models make 128GB of storage instantly available. All you need is a USB drive on your laptop.
6. Power inverter. This handy device is a necessity for long road trips when you won’t be able to get to an AC power supply conveniently. Power inverters come in many shapes, sizes, and voltages, but their main purpose is evident—to turn your car’s 12V DC supply into household current so you can plug your laptop charging cord in and other similar devices.
7. Portable Backup Charger. When you’re on the go and beyond the reach of the electrical grid, a backup charger is a necessity for keeping your smartphone or tablet powered up and connected. Countless models abound to meet various needs, price points, and devices.
8. Ethernet Cable. Wi-Fi may be ubiquitous, but sometimes the unthinkable happens—you can’t find a Wi-Fi signal, your wireless adapter fails, or you simply need to plug-in to get a better connection. A 3- or 6-foot Ethernet cable can be just the peace of mind you need.
9. Periphery devices. Need to print documents while you’re on the go, but toting your Officejet is out of the question? There are many mobile printers available that can go on the road with you when you do. Ditto for portable scanners, especially if you need to scan receipts for expense reports or other documents on-the-fly.
10. Pens, paper, and files. We haven’t gone 100% digital yet. It’s always a good idea to have some of the “old fashioned” tools of the trade on hand such as pens, a writing tablet (I prefer the bright yellow, 8-1/2 x 11 writing tablets myself—they’re hard to miss!), and even some paper files and folders that you might need for your trip. Often, I’ll print out important items such as contact information, reservations, directions, etc., and bring them along with me just in case I can’t access them on my phone, tablet, or laptop when I need them.
Last but certainly not least, you need a way to organize your mobile office so that everything you need has a place and is accessible when you need it. Products such as Mobile Edge’s Razer Tactical Bags, SmartPack Backpacks, or our business professionals collection offer durability, style, and optimal storage for a wide range of devices and user needs.
What indispensable items do you include in your mobile office? Share your ideas with your fellow business travelers.