Time will tell

Working when Traveling can be a pain or it can be less painful. I wouldn’t say it’s a pleasure, but there is often some satisfaction when everything works out well and you can be productive. How you travel determines what you need or think you need to support the tasks and challenges you may face when you are away from your home base or office. 

It’s a lot easier for me to take a lot of things with me if I’m using my own vehicle, but even that can present an issue if you’re not always with your vehicle.  What do you leave in your vehicle and what do you take with you from your vehicle. I’m not going to talk about tools or specialty items that many workers do actually use in some specific situations, but I’ll keep it limited to computer related work for now. Think laptops, tablets, and phones. It’s not so easy to simplify what you carry and work with as I used to believe. At one time a mobile phone was enough for most work, and in some cases it still is, but is it one phone or two phones? Do you need a work phone and a personal phone. Can they function as a single device or do you really want them as a two separate devices. I see a lot of people with two phones on the table at many meetings. I don’t care how lite a phone is, carrying two is not great.  The same can be said for laptops. Do you need more than one? Some people do. Sometimes you’ll see two phones, a laptop, and an iPad as someone’s daily carry for meetings or site visits. Sure you can carry all that in a backpack or computer bag, but do you really want to. That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of. I’ve done it, never liked it, but I believed I needed all that junk. We can always look for simpler setups, but maybe your situation isn’t flexible enough to work efficiently and effectively without multiple devices, but maybe you can get there. 

If I could only take one device, it would be a phone. Specifically for myself it would be an iPhone, but I’ve also had good experiences with Android phones. I don’t really see one as better than the other, but go with what you know works for you.

So if all you need is a phone, then great, you are either very good at what you do, or you don’t really do much so you don’t need much. 

Most likely you’ve become very good at traveling and working from remote locations. You may only need to talk to be productive. Maybe you need a few apps to look at real time or browser based information. You might rely on your phone’s camera or audio recording abilities. For any of this type of work you need to be creative, not just in working with content, but processing information so that you can balance mobility with productivity. 

If you travel to a big city where you do a lot of walking, one phone isn’t too awkward to carry unless it’s extremely cold and you’re wearing lots of outer gear like gloves, or very hot climate where pockets may be limited based on what you wear and where you are. On a beach, if that’s where you expect to make or receive a lot of calls even one phone might seem like too much. Those are extremes, but for most situations a phone is perfect as a do it all work tool.

Now if you have to use a specific work computer, that maybe you don’t even have admin rights, but is the only permitted device to work with on the road, then there isn’t much you can do beyond using a comfortable laptop bag or messenger bag. You might want to limit the amount of extra weight by leaving your charger with your luggage and rely on your computers battery life. Replacing large headphones for conference calls with ear buds, and replace wired mice with smaller wireless units. Bring a small notebook or journal, but don’t  load up lots of printed materials that you should replace with digital versions. Limit what you bring and carry to what you know you need, not what you think you might need. 

Experience helps with these situations. Each time you work when you travel you might learn a new trick or two the hard way or from seeing and learning what others are doing that appears to be successful.

I have a tablet, I don’t travel with it very often, I have in the past but I found I could do everything I would do on the tablet with my iPhone. It’s a big phone – sometimes it seems too big.

As for laptops, I do  prefer a larger screen to work on but I’ve found that using a Microsoft surface which has a smaller screen does work as an excellent travel option – And this from someone who prefers Linux. 

I didn’t think I would like theses Windows based tablets, but it works and is also smaller and lighter than my regular laptops. 

If all I’m doing is writing then my trusty Pixel book Go is perfect, but if I’m doing anything more I bring a regular laptop. 

I can get a lot done with my phone, but sometimes two phones  are what some traveling calls for. 

I do try to get by with just one iPhone, and more often than not it works well. 

Every time you travel and it involves work, or you feel the need to be connected to the office you may try changing things up a little and over time come up with a setup that works best for you and your situation.

The one computer I always have with me is my phone. I’m always connected and always available because it’s how I work. It may not be something everyone wants to do, but it’s how I’ve worked for a long time. Even when I’m not at work I know I can still be productive because that’s what my phone allows me to do. 

I believe that most people should take breaks, they should take holidays and disconnect from work once in a while, but not everyone can or wants to. 

I wouldn’t think everyone loves every single  job they do or loves to travel and work even on their days off, but I do appreciate that I can get things done when I have to, and I try to make it less of a burden than it sometimes seems. 

So if using the right application and the best device for the job makes it less painful to work remotely or when traveling away from the office, then I’m going to be very interested in how it can simplify my productivity and support.

I do watch reviews, but many reviews seem to contradict each other.

I would also like to think that eventually companies that roll  out laptops to their workforce would move away from that old model and let the workers use whatever operating system or device works best for them. Keep the design simple to leveraging the cloud and improving the VPN technologies. It wouldn’t matter what the work force uses for access to cloud based applications. Use a browser for everything (that idea already works) let the employees have control of their own computers. That idea might not fly well. I like it, but I can see the headaches it would cause for security concerns if not done well. That’s probably the most important issue. It has to be done well. You shouldn’t need to spend lots of time trying to get your computer to work, you should spend that time actually doing the work the computer was intended to accomplish. 

Laptops are going away, phones and tablets are almost indistinguishable other than by their screen size and phone calling ability. Maybe we’ll see all these blend into something completely different that leverages AI and only requires limited physical interaction. 

Maybe more like a “personal digital assistant”. Wait …….didn’t we already have those? 

Could we possibly see an AI driven and cloud based futuristic version of the Palm Pilot or the BlackBerry?

Time will tell.

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