If you are a business owner, a corporate executive, or even the CEO of a multimillion dollar company, you need to bring the office with you wherever you go. You need to stay connected at all times. Going off the grid, even for just a few hours, is not an option because all hell could break loose at any given moment—and clearly, nobody wants that to happen on their watch.
I learned this the hard way when I went off on a three-day photography hike in South Korea a few months back. I am by no means a high-powered executive, but I am a small business owner. I recently started a travel photography agency with a fellow photographer, and at the time, we were in the midst of growing our pool of freelance photographers and building our own travel stock photo website to create a more reliable platform for selling our images. Since I was way up in the mountains, any means of charging my smartphone was hard to come by, and cell reception was pretty much non-existent. Unfortunately, it was at this time that my business partner ran into some issues with our web developer and needed my help in resolving it. And because I was technically “off the grid” for the time being, he could not reach me and therefore could not resolve the issue.
This is when I learned that, as a business owner, you simply cannot afford to be unreachable—especially when your business is in its infancy stage. But since my job requires me to travel all over the world, sometimes to the most remote and far-flung places, staying connected can be particularly tricky.
If you are often out of the office for business trips and need to rely on technology to stay connected and run your business from wherever you are in the world, then you need to prepare and plan ahead.
Here are some tips to help you stay connected at all times:
1. Arm Yourself with the Right Gadgets
Gadgets help us stay connected wherever we go. Ideally, executives and business professionals should already have a gamut of mobile devices at their disposal, including a smartphone, an iPad or tablet, a laptop, and even a smartwatch. These are all essential items to a busy professional, so make sure to have at least one of them with you at all times.
If you do not have a smartwatch yet, I highly suggest you purchase one. There are many to choose from, but the best smartwatches are those that allow you to answer calls, messages, and even emails conveniently without having to whip out your smartphone.
Another helpful gadget to have is a portable wireless charger that does not need to be plugged into a socket; better if you can get one that is compatible with any Qi or PMA-enabled device. It is essentially like a power bank, but the difference is that a cable is not needed to attach it to a phone.
I just place my phone on top of my recently purchased wireless charger, and it starts charging right away. I love this wireless charger because I often bring two phones with me when I’m traveling, and it works with both my iPhone (I had to purchase a special case to enable wireless charging capability) and my S7 Edge.
2. Install the Right Apps on Your Mobile Device
Apps make our lives so much better—you just have to know which ones to install. Of course, there is no specific list of apps that every busy professional needs, as this will all depend on the individual’s specific needs.
Here are some examples:
- If your employees tend to do a lot of their work on Google Docs or Google Sheets, make sure to download the mobile versions of those applications on your smartphone and other devices.
- If Slack is your team’s communication tool of choice, download the Slack mobile app, too.
Whatever applications you use for day-to-day office tasks and communications, I can assure you that there is a mobile app for it, so go find it on the App Store or Play Store. Having these apps on your phone will allow you to work, get updates, and communicate with anyone at the office straight from your phone or tablet, which is highly convenient since there may be instances where it is just too much of a hassle to take your laptop out.
Consider downloading other perfect-for-travel apps like FireChat, which enables you to send messages to anyone in the world without data or Wi-Fi, or apps that can help you find free hotspots and Wi-Fi zones anywhere in the world.
3. Research Your Destination Beforehand
Even with the right gadgets on hand, you will still need to ensure that your destination (and the transportation you will be taking to get there) has the amenities to allow you to stay connected. Does your plane have in-flight Wi-Fi? Are there power outlets near or around your seat? Does the hotel have Wi-Fi? How is the cell reception in the area?
These are all questions that need to be answered before you travel, so do not forget to do your research. Finding out what to expect beforehand will allow you to plan ahead for all possible scenarios.
Most business professionals should not have a problem here, since First Class and Business Class flights provide Wi-Fi access and offer sockets at every seat, and you will most likely be staying at top accommodations where full amenities are always available.
But for those who often travel to developing countries where Wi-Fi is not always available at every corner, you will most likely need to figure everything out before you get there. If there is no Wi-Fi at your hotel or hostel, find out which nearby local businesses offer free Wi-Fi access.
4. Make Use of the Cloud
If you are not already using cloud-based systems to improve all aspects of office or business processes, then you definitely should. Using the cloud can help improve productivity, visibility, and team communication, but the best advantage is that it allows managers, business owners, CEOs, and other top-level executives to work on tasks, communicate with coworkers, or see what is going on from anywhere in the world.
With the cloud, you can use a variety of programs such as instant messaging, online meeting tools, project management tools, shared calendars, shared file storage, and more.
5. Plan and Prepare for All Possible Scenarios
Be prepared for all eventualities—and make sure everyone else is prepared, too.
While staying connected is the goal, there will always be instances when you cannot possibly work remotely or contact your employees to fix certain issues and address concerns. In those cases, you need to ensure that everything gets resolved even without your help. Get together with your business or company’s key people and put contingency plans in place for any and all issues that should arise.
But most importantly, make sure to formulate a separate plan for when it is virtually impossible for you to communicate with your team or address the issue yourself.
Photos are creative commons from pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Andrea Bernice Roth
Andrea Bernice Roth is a tech freelance writer from Long Beach, California. She co-manages an artists’ collective with her friends to encourage photographers and other creative minds to showcase their talent. This free-spirited adventure junkie loves riding waves in Malibu and traveling to seek out the world’s best surf spots.