Spending the day at the office isn’t what it used to be – it’s changed for the better. You no longer need to sit behind a desk to keep on top of your work: today’s office can travel with you. But to effectively work on the move you need to make some smart decisions about the kit that keeps you productive. Here’s our guide to the must-have technology to make your office truly mobile.
A capable laptop
The heart of any ‘on-the-go’ office is your laptop, and when your portable computer is crucial to your business, it has to be reliable and capable. The Advent Monza S200 ticks both boxes, with a dual-core AMD processor backed up by 8GB of memory and an impressive 750GB of storage space. It has a 15.6-inch screen and packs both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, so you can be confident about getting online wherever you end up working. There’s even a choice of colours – red, blue or purple.
The Monza S200 is the perfect travelling companion for the mobile worker
Take a tablet
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an ultra-portable solution to computing on the move, it’s worth considering a Tablet. The Tablet market has matured, which means there are bargains to be had – even if you have your heart set on the (typically more expensive) iPad. If you opt for the second-generation model of Apple’s Tablet (rather than the current third-generation option) you can pick one up for £329. Tablets such as the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and the Toshiba AT300 are known for their portability and touchscreen ease-of-use. However, the lack of a physical keyboard is a drawback for anyone wanting to do more than send the occasional email. The Advent K512 Wireless Tablet Keyboard is an excellent solution, enabling the best of both worlds – and helping to create a mobile office that’s extra light but still very powerful.
If you use a tablet while away from your desk, pair it with this fabulous Bluetooth keyboard
You won’t get far into your remote working day without needing to check your email or browse the web. Popping into a café is always a good way to track down a Wi-Fi hotspot , and most hotels now offer some kind of broadband connection. But carrying your own mobile internet connection offers additional peace of mind.
If you have a 3G smartphone, you may be able to set it to share its mobile internet connection as a personal hotspot . Check your phone’s Wi-Fi settings to find out – but first make sure your mobile contract allows ‘tethering’ (as it’s known). An alternative is to buy a dedicated Mi-Fi device. These gadgets, such as the Three Huawei E586, create a wireless internet connection for personal use. They work a bit like pay-as-you-go mobile phones, so you can top up your broadband allowance, as you need it. For both options, you’ll need a decent mobile phone signal.
If you’re going to use a public Wi-Fi hotspot , and you want to make sure your office work is safe from prying eyes, consider making your connection via a virtual private network (VPN) service. This means the data you send and receive is encrypted and safe from any would-be hackers. Take a look at Best UK VPN or TorVPN. Both services are reliable – and free.
Choose your software
Once your kit is sorted, you need to start looking at ways to make it work for you. Microsoft Office is an obvious choice for any business, but there are also free alternatives that might suit you. Our feature on business software can take you through all the key options.
You might also want to consider one or more of these handy tools:
This web-based service provides a central place for organising and tracking work: making it handy for groups of workers who are often off-site. It’s a pay-for service, but offers a free trial.
This service automatically backs up the data from up to three computers to the cloud, so you can access your files from any computer, tablet or smartphone. A year’s subscription costs £50.
The KnowHow Cloud Backup and Share service offers 1TB of storage space for up to three computers
You can make voice and video calls over the internet using this service, which makes it an affordable way to keep in touch while you’re away – even if you’re going abroad. But Skype also offers a growing network of Wi-Fi hotspots, which you can use and pay for by the minute.
A more fully featured version of the battery app that comes as part of Windows, BatteryBar learns the behaviour of your battery so it can give you a very accurate estimate of how much longer it will last.
This freeware program allows you to send documents to any printer using Google’s Cloud Print service. You can also send ‘prints’ of documents to your smartphone or tablet.
You’re almost ready to hit the road but don’t forget the extras. For instance, your Advent laptop can be given some personalised pizzazz with a custom cover – you can even create one from your own photos. A portable hard drive is also a sound investment, so you can store back-up copies of important data. These pocket-sized devices were once a pricey option, but you can pick them up now for a bargain price. In the Toshiba Stor.e Basics range, for instance, you can get one terabyte of space for under £100.
A battery pack, such as the Duracell 3 Hour USB Travel Charger will give added power to smaller USB -powered gadgets. And if you’re going to be working on trains, planes or in other public places, consider some noise-cancelling headphones, such as the Sandstrøm SHPNC11 to help you keep your concentration.
Block out unwanted external noise while you work with this pair of noise-cancelling headphones