How to Work on the Road

Modern technology and work practices allow for more and more people each year to have the flexibility to work from home all or part of the time. This is called, “working from home,” “working remotely,” or “telecommuting.” If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to work from home part of the time, here is how to make the most of it by combining it with your next travel plans!

  1. Get the okay from your manager

If you are already working from home occasionally, working from another destination shouldn’t be that different from working from a coffee shop down the road in your employer’s eyes. That said, this is new for many companies and many managers. You may need to be the “guinea pig” for your company, so come prepared to the discussion with a good argument for why this won’t affect your productivity. If you don’t yet work from home at all, but the majority of your work is conducted over the internet, a good first step is to see if your manager would be willing to let you work from home one to two days per week.

  1. Pick a destination!

Especially if this is new for you or your employer, be extra sure to choose a location where you can be as productive as usual. This varies from person to person based on how easily distracted you are (and how tempting your surroundings are!). It also depends on how flexible your work schedule can be (do you need to stick to 9-5 hours in your home time zone?). It’s important for this to feel like any other work day from your employer’s perspective, though, or you might not have the free range to take work on the road in the future.

Okay, now that the “rules” are out of the way, you can be pretty creative with your destination! Many hotels and coffee shops have WiFi, as do some locations in tourist areas (for instance, ski lodges and breweries). You can plan a trip where you work beachside, from the woods, beside the pool, or with a view of snowy mountains. Even locations with spotty cell phone service often have coffee shops with WiFi in town, so even camping is an option!

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My “office view” for today
  1. Plan for WiFi and a space to work

Reliable WiFi is the most important consideration for working on the road. That said, it’s pretty easy to find, especially in more urban areas and travel destinations. The second consideration is where you will physically set up for the day. Take into account the necessities (in addition to an internet connection, you will eventually want access to a power outlet and a bathroom, at a minimum) and logistics (do you need to make any calls?). Think about your working style, too. Can you work with distractions, or should you stick to your hotel room? If you work by a beach or somewhere else “dirty,” do you have a way to keep sand and dirt from getting into your laptop? If you work in this amazing hammock all day today, will your back be too sore to go hiking tomorrow?

  1. Combine your trip with a weekend to fully experience your destination

This is the best part of working on the road! Once you finish work each day, you can use your evenings to explore. That might be going out to eat, going fishing, or seeing a play. You didn’t have to take vacation days (hooray!), so you don’t have to tighten your belt quite as much as on a typical trip. Once the weekend comes, you can have full days to hike, bike, shop, or sightsee. Enjoy it! And try not to make your co-workers too jealous. ;)