By Richard Morris, UK CEO at Regus
For many professionals the office-based 9-5 is a thing of the past. Instead, completing tasks whilst travelling to meetings or on the commute, for example, has become normal practice. Laptops, tablet, mobiles, and file sharing tools like DropBox all mean that we can work whenever and wherever we like. But how can you ensure that you remain productive? Here I will offer some tips for working effectively whilst on the move.
Make the most of your travel time
As well as using train and plane journeys to work, think about how to make the most of your time before and after travel. Most major airports now have facilities like business lounges, and Gatwick even has individual workpods situated airside, which offer a quiet, productive environment to concentrate in. These locations will help you to make the most of your time if your flight is delayed, for example.
But remember – anyone might be listening!
Making and taking calls during a train journey might be a great use of time, but they do tend to attract the attention of fellow passengers, and you never know who might be listening! Be careful about information you give out within earshot of other travellers to avoid breaching any confidentiality agreements or causing embarrassment.
Think carefully about meeting locations
It’s easy to assume that meetings are best held at your usual office, or that of your client. However, this might not necessarily be the most convenient location. Meeting rooms are available to book by the hour at a wide range of places including motorway service stations, hotels and even shopping centres. Using one of these settings could mean reduced travel time – and therefore higher productivity – for all concerned.
Use professional locations wherever possible
Flexible working used to mean dropping into coffee shops or sitting in hotel lobbies, and putting up with the accompanying background noise and constant interruptions. However, the abundance of professional workspaces means this need no longer be the case. Using a flexible office location or business lounge means you’ll have reliable technology and an ergonomic environment to maximise your productivity. There’s now a global network of over 2,300 flexible workspaces so chances are there’ll be one close by.
Embrace remote working tools
There are a whole host of tools now available to make working on the move productive. In our survey of over 4,000 senior business people, 85% of said they have used at least one tool enabling remote working in the previous month, with DropBox and Skype being the most popular.
Getting to grips with these tools will mean you’ll always have access to the documents you need and will be able to stay in touch with colleagues and contacts when out and about.
Stay safe on the road
In our poll of 1800 senior managers and business owners in 2014, two fifths of respondents admitted to having dialled into conference calls whilst driving and a fifth said they had held important business discussions, tantamount to a meeting requiring concentration and decision making, whilst one of them was driving.
The best way to ensure safety on the road is to turn your phone off, but at the very least you should use a hands free kit or ensure you pull over safely to take calls. Drop-in workspaces are available at some motorway services offering a convenient spot to take a break from driving and handle any urgent tasks.
The changing nature of working practices means that more people are spending more of their time working whilst travelling than ever before, and this trend is likely to continue. However, working in a range of environments can make maintaining concentration and productivity a challenge. A few simple adjustments to working practices can ensure that you are making the most of their time whilst working on the move.