Ever since the pandemic normalized remote work, lots of employers are giving their team the choice of a hybrid, or work-from-anywhere (WFA), opportunity. Given that most employees love the flexibility of WFA, the mobile workforce has grown a LOT. In fact, an Upwork survey found that 22% of Americans will be working remotely by 2025, which is an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
But WFA is still new to a lot of us. If you’re part of a recently-mobile workforce, chances are that in spite of the many positives of this work style, you also face a lot of new challenges. How do you stay organized when you’re not always in an office? And how do you draw the line between work and personal life?
To help, we spoke with a couple WFA-veterans who were willing to pass along some of their experiences, insights, and tips for thriving in a WFA environment.
Suggested reading: A Gift Guide For Remote Workers
Jon - Advice On Working From Anywhere
Jon’s a husband, father of three, and an area sales manager for a tech company. On top of that, he shares some awesome remote work gear reviews and photography on his Instagram, @jon.lava.
When Jon’s not at his home office, he travels in his car to different partner locations around his Connecticut territory. Jon shares how he gets the most out of the days when his car becomes his mobile office (because, if you opt for WFA, chances are that you’ll end up working from your car at some point!).
"Always take care of yourself"
You'll be more productive when you're comfortable, so mobile workers need to prioritize their well-being. When Jon is working on the road, he brings a snack and water to keep himself going, “since there’s no kitchen you can just get up and walk to.” Nor is there a reliable bathroom, he reminds us. “It also helps to know where the bathrooms on your route are!”
Use technology to stay organized
“Being on the road keeps things interesting each day.” The world outside of the office is less predictable. Using organizational apps helps Jon make sure that his priorities are taken care of, no matter what the day holds. His make sure his cloud-based calendar stays updated, and he uses Things by Cultured Code to manage projects and tasks.
Enjoy where work from anywhere takes you
The location independence granted by WFA means that you’ll get to see places during the work day that you never might have otherwise. As a mobile worker, Jon’s discovered some cool new spots along his route. “There’s a couple of awesome parks I’ll have my lunch at, stretch, disconnect, and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a great mid-day reset.” And importantly, don’t feel guilty about taking some “me time”.
If you want to find new parks and picnic spots for yourself, use Google Earth to identify green patches, and then zoom into street view to make sure it’s a public space.
Bring the right tools
The right products can help you keep everything organized, even when moving from place to place. We were thrilled to learn that Jon’s Knack Pack is the MVP of his mobile office essentials. “My Knack Pack is crucial to my work experience and organization as I go. It allows me to bring everything I need, without feeling cumbersome. Basically my office-in-a-bag.”
Of course, the right tech also plays a big role in staying organized. “I always have my MacBook and my iPad, a collection of adapters, and a few other items for my Knack Pack to hold, such as sanitizer and something to write with.”
Be a self-starter
The flexibility and autonomy of mobile work is one of the best parts of the job for Jon. But away from the office, you don’t have as many people holding you accountable, even though you have just as many responsibilities. Therefore, you need to be a self-starter and “be able to decide how you want to tackle responsibilities.”
Ben - On Mastering Life On The Road
Ben is a grip in the film industry, and has to work wherever the film production is - which could be pretty much anywhere in sprawling Los Angeles county. To avoid spending too much time in the car, he often stays in his camper van, enjoying #vanlife.
Ben shared some tips for managing this unconventional way of living and working.
Bring the just-in-case stuff
Like Jon, Ben feels that any work that puts you out into the world everyday - rather than an office - presents a lot more of the unexpected. So Ben packs accordingly:
“I always bring 4 days worth of clothes in my Knack’s suitcase pocket, even if I’m only staying in the van for a night. I want to make sure I have a clean change of clothes no matter what happens. You never know when there’ll be a spill or tear.” Luckily, Ben’s Large Series 1 Knack has plenty of room for backup stuff.
“I also keep spare grip clips in the bottom pocket of my Knack Pack. They’re heavy, but Knack’s strong enough to hold them and all my other stuff.”
Stay in touch
Working remotely makes it more difficult to communicate with family and co-workers. Ben, who’s days are long and fast-paced, found an easy way to let his family know that he’s safe.
“I use my Apple Watch to share my location, so my family knows where I am even on busy days when I don’t have time to call or text.”
Ben also keeps a backup mobile hotspot device, in case WiFi isn't available. "My iPad has 15 gigs of hotspot data, so I can even hook my laptop up if I need to."
Embrace co-working spaces
Working away from home and staying in a van can get tiring, so Ben likes to use co-working spaces to reset and catch up on administrative tasks.
“A WeWork day pass gives me access to strong WiFi, weak coffee, and a nice quiet desk where I can knock out a bunch of emails. It just helps me feel more organized.”
CoWorking spaces are also awesome for those days when you actually miss the office and the people around the water cooler.
Knack Packs are made by mobile workers, for mobile workers - so we love to learn that they’re a big help to people out in the field. Do you have any tips for working remotely? Be sure to share them with us!