We don’t all have the luxury of being able to disappear off the face of the Earth between public holidays. However, with an iPad in your travel bag you can get away from your desk and still stay on top of things.
There are advantages to not working a traditional 9-to-5 job. The downside is that you probably can’t go completely off the grid for weeks at a time over summer. That doesn’t mean you need to stay chained to your desk while your family and friends head for the beach. It just means you need the right tools to stay productive on the move, especially if you don’t want to be fending off phone calls all day.
This is where an iPad can come to your rescue. However, you need to plan ahead. There are three keys to staying productive with an iPad when you’re on the move: connectivity, access to your business apps and data, and the right form factor to use your tablet as a productivity tool.
If you’re heading away from the city lights, it pays to do your research regarding mobile coverage. Don’t just trust your telco’s coverage map. You should also consult the locals. Try speaking to the reception desk at your accommodation. Ask about their guest Wi-Fi network. Try the nearest phone store to see which mobile networks offer the best coverage in that area and where you’re likely to run into black spots.
If your iPad doesn’t have built-in 4G LTE, you’ll need access to a Wi-Fi network. If your accommodation doesn’t offer guest Wi-Fi, you’ll need to bring your own.
The easiest way to get your iPad online is to generate a Wi-Fi hotspot using your smartphone. Alternatively, you might invest in a portable Wi-Fi hotspot or mobile travel router. These are designed to tap into the mobile phone network and share that internet access with your Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
If you’re looking to cover your bases, consider whether it’s worth using different mobile network providers for your smartphone and portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
Keep in mind that all the minor mobile telcos in Australia are resellers for Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. In terms of coverage, there’s no advantage to signing up with two different telcos that are both relying on the same backend network.
Look to the cloud
It’s important to plan to ensure you have access to all the apps and services you’ll need to stay productive when you’re away from the office. The easiest way to do this is to use cloud services so your important files are always at your fingertips.
Think about the specific tasks and workflows you’ll need to perform to keep the business up and running. It could be anything from writing reports and reviewing documents to issuing purchase orders and submitting invoices. Go through a practice run to ensure every step of the process can be done from your iPad.
If you run into hurdles, consider different ways to get things done. Also consider what can wait until you’re back at your desk.
Think about ergonomics
While touchscreens are incredibly useful, they’re not always the best tool for the job. If you’re bashing out long business reports, you might find yourself wishing for a real keyboard rather than typing on a slab of glass that has no give.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to convert your iPad to a laptop-style form factor. You’ll find plenty of iPad covers designed to hold your tablet upright. Some even have a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. Alternatively, you might opt for a separate keyboard and stand.
Whatever you choose, make sure you put it to the test in advance to ensure it’s the right set-up for your needs. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of nowhere to realise you should have thrown a few extra things in your travel bag.
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