With the technology now available you no longer need to be working in your current office. You have many options including heading off to work in idyllic, sunny places. If you are feeling tempted to go and work from a faraway beach let’s look at what you’ll need to do this successfully.
Get the right Hardware
Remote working is likely to mean you’ll be accessing the Cloud at lot, and you may also have several programs running at the same time – so choosing something with a decent amount of RAM is important. Also, if you think you’re likely to have to work offline a lot, then a good-sized hard drive, or one that connects to an extra external hard drive is important.
Without plug sockets to hand you’ll need a powerbank. To help you choose the right one, here’re a few things to consider:
- How many devices do you want to be able to charge from the powerbank? Charging your phone once or twice will be possible from most, but if you’re looking to keep your laptop charged as well, you’ll need a larger capacity device.
- What devices are you charging? Powerbanks come with a variety of outlet sockets, but they’re not all the same.
- How strong are you? Some of the high capacity powerbanks weigh 1kg or more. That’s more than the weight of the Surface Pro and not far short of the 13inch Powerbook Pro
- Are you flying? Many airlines ban the really high capacity powerbanks, so err on the side of caution if you are a frequent flyer.
If your house is on the edge of the beach and the WiFi reaches the beach, then great. If not, you’ll need a 4G connection and be able to tether via your phone.
If you are sold on the beach being a Caribbean one, you will have to be prepared to work with fairly slow speeds. The Bahamas seems to have the fastest broadband speeds in the area, at about 9.95Mbps. If you’re happy with the Florida coastline instead, you can get much faster speeds, at 46.6Mbps. If you want to use 4G, here’s where you can choose your preferred beach.
If you are travelling for a short period, check the price of buying data locally and compare to UK prices. If your mobile contract comes with a lot of data, check their roaming policies. Outside of the EU, most UK operators charge £5 per day to use your contract data. That may be sufficient.
Don’t forget you will be backing up your data online, as well as accessing your apps and email. Ensure you take that into consideration when looking at how much data you need.
A security warning here. If the data on your laptop needs to be secured, be very careful about using local WiFi. It is a common practice for hackers to spoof WiFi connections in order to get access to your data.
VOIP or Mobile?
Running a business means talking to people; a lot of people. Staff, clients, suppliers, investors and prospects are just a few. Depending on where most of your clients are, you need to think carefully about how you set up your phones. Your mobile is certainly not your best option, even if it is one of the easiest devices to take to the beach. If you decide on the Bahamas because of the broadband speeds, mobile calls back to the UK could cost over £2 a minute.
A VoIP-based solution with a softphone on your laptop and/or your smartphone handset may be the best solution. SIP trunk connections to other countries where you do a lot of business will mean you’re only ever making local calls, rather than calling at international rates. You can even keep a UK landline number – so clients never need to know you’re on the beach rather than at your UK desk. Just remember to check the daily weather forecast back home so you know what to say when someone says, ‘dreadful weather we’re having here – what’s it like in your neck of the woods?’
Teamwork and productivity
There are plenty of ways to communicate with a geographically diverse team and tools to help you continues to be developed.
Instant messaging tools, such as Slack, Hipchat or Google’s Hangout Chat are all free, or have free versions. Video-conferencing could be useful depending on how good your internet connection turns out to be. Skype Google’s Hangout, Zoom etc are all there to be used.
Project management will be key. Thankfully there are plenty of tools available. Basecamp is one to consider if your projects aren’t particularly complex. Trello that allows you to manage a number of different projects using a ‘boards’ system. If you want to combine chat, meetings, collaborative working, file sharing and project management something like Microsoft Teams is worth exploring.
Securing your data
Working in remote locations, particularly if it is only for a short period of time, can increase security concerns. Devices being stolen can mean a major data security nightmare. Data breaches on devices that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for EU citizens need to be reported to the information Commissioners Office (ICO) within 72 hours. You also have to tell the people affected!
Far better to secure your devices and be able to remotely wipe them, if necessary. Talk to your IT Manager or IT support company about Mobile Device Management (MDM), biometrics or two-factor authentication (2FA) before you go.
Good luck with everything if you decide to take the plunge.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk