The events of 2020 made it clear that mobile workers have a lot of options when it comes to where they will set up to do their jobs, and it is a trend continuing into 2021. The cat is out of the bag for remote work, and many companies are seeing how much money they can save on commercial real estate by having a remote workforce. Whether you are a remote worker hired by someone else or a freelancer submitting work to several different clients, the ability to get out of your home and stretch your mind and viewpoint can be great for your mental health.
Let’s look at a few ways that you can turn your car into a remote workstation:
Most folks who work out of their cars work online. Your mobile office will need at least the following:
-A spot for your computer
For easy internet access, a cell phone data plan with unlimited data is the easiest way to stay mobile (pun intended). Take care when turning on your mobile hot spot. Your phone can get extremely warm when providing wi-fi; take care to keep it on a surface that won’t allow it to overheat. If your funds for a data plan are low, consider parking near restaurants or diners with free wi-fi. Take care to switch over to your hot spot for better security when transmitting documents or checking your bank account.
A Spot for Your Computer
Depending on the vehicle you’re in, you can get a mountable tray for your steering wheel that will hold to your steering wheel. If you have the room in the back of the car, a lap desk can also work for your computer; just make sure to secure your machine before you drive off. While choosing a desk, make sure you pay attention to your chair. Even sitting with your legs out straight, you will need a backrest for comfort. A minivan is great for this; smaller cars will have too little headroom. Spending a lot of time driving and in your car means that you need to pay attention to its needs and features a bit more. This does not always mean heavy customization (though it can if you’ve got the budget and the inclination).
For privacy, you can do something permanent and get the windows tinted as dark as legally possible in your area. However, if you are using a tool that produces light, the tinting can’t give you 100% protection. Curtains or car shades can help. Run a long dowel behind the grab bars above the doors and use binder clips to hang lightweight windshield reflectors, black side out, for more privacy. If you need insulation, consider investing in Reflectix to put up during the day to avoid heat build-up. If your windows mirror from side to side, paint the back black and swap sides after dark. For added privacy and protection, try to stay away from dangerous areas, and always be ready to move if the situation demands it.
You may have a power inverter that will pull power from your starting battery, but this may kill your car battery pretty quickly. Instead, look for a portable power supply you can charge while driving to reduce the drain on your starting battery. If you have access to the outdoors, you can also find small foldable solar panels to charge your phone and tablet. Investing in AEM parts and sensors that help you monitor your car’s performance or the energy your car uses can make a huge difference in your ability to work by keeping your car running.
Other Supplies and Physical Maintenance
Once your computer is powered up and you have a secure workspace, it’s time to think about office supplies, beverages and snacks. You will also need to keep professional clothing handy if you need to meet with clients while you’re out. If you’re in a van or something with a bit more headroom, consider putting up a clothing bar. From here, you can hang a blazer, an organizer for bits and bobs, and a tie or two.
Invest in a good quality cooler and a particularly good thermal beverage cup. If you are living in a house and working out of your car, cook ahead on your days off and freeze individual servings in plastic containers. These become the chill packs for the rest of your food. You can pack fruit, yogurt, a sandwich for lunch, and a beverage in the cooler and avoid expensive snacks throughout the day. By the end of your workday, the chill pack will be ready to microwave for supper.
These are just some ideas for how you can still work, get out of the house, and stay mobile. As businesses realize how much money they can save on commercial real estate by having employees work remotely, the more we will see a shift to that even after quarantining and lockdowns are an unpleasant memory. Think of how important it can be for you to get out of the house for your own mental health or even just to focus and turn your car into your mobile oasis.
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