7 Tips for Traveling While Working from Home
Tis the season for travel to and from events with family and friends for the holidays and I am already away from home so writing this post was a no-brainer. Those of you who work from home and have opted to reserve PTO (if that’s even an option) for other times in the year are going to need to take note of a few of these tips that I’ve learned over the years. This may not be an option for all of you, but I’m sure you’ll find some nuggets in here that can be used over the next couple of weeks.
1 - Prepare a Packing Sheet
I like to be very mindful of my activities the business day before I plan on leaving the comfort of my home office. What tools am I using to start my day? Make a quick note so you remember to pack those tools for your trip the following day. Many of us use key fobs that provide login codes so be sure to add that to the packing sheet.
Quick story here! I used to worry about forgetting my tiny key fob at home during a road trip and that actually became a reality one day. I was hours away from home and had a tiny moment of panic. Being the quick-thinker I am sometimes, I phoned a friend/co-worker who admitted to having that same fear. I got the phone number for the service desk from her and called to see if there was anything at all they could do to help me get logged into the secure system so I could work without having to take a day off from work.
Bingo! In addition to providing me with a temporary code, I was also given instructions on how to download an app that actually provides the necessary codes right onto my smartphone. Just something to keep in mind if you rely on key fob codes like yours truly does.
Okay… Moving on to numero dos!
2 - Start as Soon as You Stop!
Makes sense, right? If you’re traveling on Friday morning, it would make sense to start packing as soon as you’re done with work on Thursday evening. I prefer to travel during the evening hours when I’m off so I grab my handy packing list and pack my laptop bag as soon as I’m done with work that day.
3 - Be a Note Taker!
Don’t forget to take your note pads and any other notes you typically refer to during your normal workday. I have a folder I toss that stuff into so I have access to all of my requisition numbers and details, the sticky notes that hold important info such as my office number which I can never remember, and a few other items.
4 - Make Sure You Can Connect!
This is a big one because I’ve struggled in this area a few times over the years as recently as this past summer when I moved to my new house. My first experience with this was when I traveled to my parents’ house for a long weekend only to realize my parents had disconnected the internet without sending a mass communication to their children. This was at a time when my dad was still able to handle certain things around the house so he jumped on the phone and took care of it for me. I experienced some down time, but it wasn’t a total disaster.
My most recent experience was the delay with having my cable/phone/internet services connected in my home because of a delayed closing time. Home-buyers know what that’s like! Anyway…I assumed I could just go to my local library and connect easily. Not the case at all! I eventually got on the phone with IT and was promptly told by the librarian that I couldn’t be on the phone. *sigh* That was a long day and thinking about it now is exhausting.
I said all of that to say that it’s important for you to know the internet/WiFi situation before you head to your destination. You want to avoid as many issues as possible.
5 - How You Charging?
Some of you may have actually gotten that one, but it’s okay if you didn’t. I am a Native New Yorker who grew up listening to Wendy Williams on the radio and she’s known for saying “How You Doin’” with emphasis. She’s no longer on the radio but you could totally catch her on her tv show, which I watch faithfully for entertainment.
So back to my point…
Pack ALL chargers! I left my house once without the power cord for my laptop and ended up taking the day off. I’m sure I could’ve tried to track one down at a local electronics store but I was pretty far away from civilization at the time. I won’t even tell you how many times I’ve left home without my cell phone charger. This goes back to my point of the packing list. Create one and use it!
6 - Be Available!
I’m going to put on my HR hat for this one so bear with me, please. FYI - Just in case you didn’t already know, I’m a FT Recruiter and Certified HR Professional. With that said, you are being paid to work if you haven’t taken the time off while you travel. Please be available to respond to emails, phone calls, and instant messages.
Moving right along to #7!
7 - Take a Vacation!
Some of us have a hard time distancing ourselves from our laptops when our employers have made it so easy to stay connected. We have to be comfortable, however, with taking a vacation (when possible). Put your Out-of-Office message on and take the day off to spend time with family and friends over the holidays.
What have I missed? What works for you when you’re traveling and planning on logging in while you’re away from your home office? Feel free to share in the Comments section as others would definitely benefit from hearing more of what works for those of us who work from home.