Tasks your mobile workforce should take care of on the move

Smartphones and access to fast internet enable easy mobile working – but what work is best saved for the office?

We have been untethered from our desks, no longer having to be present at the office to put in a day’s work.

With super-fast internet available through phone networks and Wi-Fi available in many public spaces, you and your mobile workforce can communicate and collaborate from wherever you are.

Busy business owners and employees frequently find themselves in transit, with lots to do and little time to do it; but certain tasks can be attended to while you’re on the go, freeing you up to focus on the more important elements of your business when you’re at the office or have a moment to sit down.

However, not all tasks are appropriate for completing on the move and attempting to do so could result in them being poorly done or inadequately performed, which could reflect badly on the business.

So, whether you’re travelling between meetings or cruising at altitude, which tasks are suitable for when you’re out and about and which should be saved for the office?

Mobile working on the tube / short journeys

Checking email, reading and responding to emails

Unless you’re completely off the map, most underground stops and train stations now have free Wi-Fi that you can take advantage of to read and respond to everyday emails with colleagues and clients.

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Remember: Whilst you may be rushing around, it’s still important to look over what you’ve written and check for spelling and grammar errors; the customer won’t appreciate that you dashed off the email whilst rushing to make a train connection with a sandwich and a coffee balanced in one hand and your phone in the other.

Mobile working on a train / longer journey

Reading documents, trade magazines, preparing presentations

Long train journeys are a good time to get stuck into some meatier work; whether it’s reading lengthy documents, preparing a presentation for a client or reading trade magazines, now’s the time to do it.

Remember: If you don’t want to be distracted, find a table seat in the quiet carriage and perhaps invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Most train companies have Wi-Fi available for a small fee or offer it free in first class (4G can be intermittent as you speed through the depths of the British countryside).

Working on mobile while driving / running / walking

Business podcasts or podcasts relevant to your trade/ audio books

A good time to catch up on some self-improvement. No matter how accomplished you may think you are, there is a plethora of business related, or more niche podcasts, available to download for free that could give your business acumen a boost; or perhaps the life story of a famous entrepreneur is the inspiration you need.

Working on a plane

Lengthy tasks that don’t require the internet

If you’re in it for the long haul, relax, get comfortable and take advantage of the lack of internet connection to not get distracted by the lure of social media sites (the crying baby in aisle four or the man in front who insists on reclining to the max may have different ideas though). Perhaps now’s the time to update your business plan or write one if you haven’t done already.

Some major carriers now do provide Wi-Fi; if that’s the case, go ahead and turn your plane into a 500mph airborne office (though the technology is relatively new and prone to crashing).

Remember: Unless you’re in business class, working on a plane can be cramped – bring a small notebook or a tablet to work on instead of an unwieldy laptop.

Mobile working best for the office

Important calls/ video meetings

Don’t be one of those obnoxious business-people shouting down the phone in public – especially on the train – your fellow passengers don’t want to hear it. Alternatively, they do want to hear it and your big mouth is giving away important information to competitors.

Remember: Some co-workspace providers now have locations at or near to major transport hubs, including in airports, train stations and even at motorway service stations. These usually have free Wi-Fi, drop-in business lounges and meeting rooms for hire.

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