Your Car = Mobile Office – Mobile Computing to Maximize Productivity

The idea for movie ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ must have been inspired by Jakarta traffic jams. There are days when I spend more time in the car than at the office. Let’s face it, everyone hates being stuck in traffic, BUT this is seriously an amazing opportunity to increase productivity.

Today’s technology has evolved to the point where you don’t actually need a physical office for every business, as more people are working over the internet from home and on the road. With increasingly sophisticated smart phones, smaller netbooks and  widespread Internet connectivity, you can do practically all the functions, from performing video presentations to passengers, printing out a custom receipts and contracts, to having it signed scanned and sent to all parties via email or fax.

A well-equipped mobile office should include all the elements necessary to conduct your affairs while you are away from your office. Here’s how to create just such an effective mobile office in your car and enjoy enhanced productivity:

1. A Smartphone

Smartphones have become indispensable and apart from making phone calls (obviously!), text messaging and emails. Mobile browsers and thousands of applications enhance usability for all communication needs on the go. Have a look at the various accessories available for use with your mobile phone.  A dock that can be attached to a surface in the car, as well charging your phone, is highly recommended.

A Bluetooth system for your car is also worth considering.  While Bluetooth headsets are quite common, a system that remains in the car often proves easier to manage.  Once enabled to connect to your phone automatically, every time you step into your car your hands free system will be ready to go.

2. A netbook (or equivalent mobile computer) and printer

Keeping a laptop in the car with you will enable you to use free moments to work on projects.  You may want to make a few quick changes to a presentation or type up some notes on a meeting.  Small portable printer such as the Canon Pixma will allow you to print important documents in full-color on standard A4 paper. The printer also has optional Bluetooth interface allowing you to print wirelessly from your laptop.

3. Mobile internet access

Pervasive as it is, we cannot always find a hotspot where we can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi. What if we want to be able to move around and stay connected at the same time? We will need more than just Wi-Fi. A great solution is to use a 3G USB modem. Many cellular operators offer it as a USB dongle that houses a SIM card and connects us to the Internet via the 3G network. It actually works in the same way as connecting your 3G Smartphone to the Internet.

4. Power

Use a car inverter to keep your electronics powered. It harnesses the power of your car’s battery to supply power to multiple AC outlets at once. This makes it possible to keep your laptop, cell phone and even printer running while on the road.

5. Car workstation

Car Workstation

Stop tossing your work gear into the seat next to you and build your mobile office around a well-organized portable desk unit. Various models of mobile workstations are available that can be secured in the passenger seat next to you with the seatbelt and it provides easy access to all of your business necessities. A well-configured unit will have a non-skid surface on top keeps your laptop from sliding around and side compartments for file folders and compartments for paper clips, staplers, pens, pencils and writing pads.

6. Headphones

You’ll need a solid pair of headphones for music while you work, for Skype calls, and for cancelling the noise while you work. If you can afford it, noise-reducing in-ear earphones are best.

Business is accelerating towards 24/7 availability. To stay abreast, and indeed ahead, you need more than a gadget. You need a mobile office that allows you to take full advantage of exciting technology that provides an enhanced communications experience, high speed internet connectivity and more battery life. Maintaining a mobile office can be very rewarding to the management of projects and relationships by utilizing the long hours in the car.

As published in Indiase August 2011 Maximise Productivity

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