If it weren’t for the Internet, I’d be unable to have the career that I have today. I can work out of the comfort of my home office, connecting with clients all around the world. I don’t have to commute anywhere and, if I happen to be out of town for whatever reason, all I really need is my trusty laptop and a solid Internet connection. Mobile professionals are no longer the exception, as they become much more a part of the cultural norm.
Getting work done on the road may not be particularly easy, because you’ll be missing much of the infrastructure that you have back at home base, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. You just have to have the right tools in place and these five websites and online services are a fantastic way to take the office with you whether you’re in Melbourne, Mumbai, Vancouver, or Vienna.
All Things Google
Let’s get things started with likely the most obvious of choices for a list like this. Some people may have their hesitations about giving so much data to such a big company, but the fact of the matter is that the sum total of Google’s products just make working from the road so much easier. You can stay in touch with Gmail, organize your appointments with Google Calendar, jot quick notes with Google Keep, and stash those important documents for retrieval just about anywhere with Google Drive. Most of these kinds of services can be replaced by alternatives, like Outlook for email and Dropbox for cloud storage, but Google offers it all and it does a pretty darn good job at it too.
Coworking Visa Map
When you’re in the comfort of your own office, you know that you have the chair that you like and your desk is setup exactly the way you like it. When you’re on the road, you typically don’t have those kinds of luxuries. While many hotels may offer some sort of “business center” and your room might have some sort of table and chair, these kinds of arrangements aren’t exactly ideal either. Instead, you might consider dropping in at the local coworking location, scouting it out with the handy Coworking Visa Map. If you’re already a member at a participating coworking space in your own town, you may already have a Coworking Visa to use for some free office time on the road too. Most coworking offices can set you up with a good desk and chair, along with good company and a solid Internet connection.
Depending on the kind of work that you do, social media could play a pretty important role in your day-to-day activities. You might have to keep tabs on the company’s Twitter and Facebook profiles, engaging with your customers and proactively responding to their queries. While you could log into each of these sites and services independently, it’s far more efficient to use a social media dashboard like HootSuite where you can log into multiple accounts all at once, schedule your social media updates ahead of time, check on the metrics for links that you’ve sent out, and have a look at what the social sphere has to say about your company. A basic account is free, but the paid pro account does offer some rather useful perks.
You’ve made some great contacts at this business conference or trade show, but you may be missing some of the important details from these new people. Maybe all you got was a name and an email address. Maybe all you got was a phone number and a company name. That’s when an online tool like Rapportive can really come in handy. It can integrate with your Google Contacts, using what information you have to scour the web for any other pertinent information about that new contact. It’ll find the related Twitter profile, for example, as well as accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, and more. You can even tack on some notes for later.
We’ve written a few times before about Basecamp and how it’s one of the best online collaboration tools on the web. If you’re working with a team, particularly when the virtual team has members located in different places and different time zones, a collaborative tool like Basecamp can really be helpful to ensure all of the project tasks are properly delegated and tracked. When all these mobile professionals are on the same page, work gets done so much more effectively.
Image credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr