Manage your business from afar using a ‘pocket office’

By splicing their home and work life, small business owners can keep a handle on their business while they take some well-earned R&R. Here, Ben White explains how you can do so with a ‘pocket office’.

By splicing their home and work life, small business owners can keep a handle on their business while they take some well-earned R&R. Here, Ben White explains how you can do so with a ‘pocket office’.

Are you keen to take a holiday but worried about your business ticking along in your absence? With a bit of preparation and the right tools, you can enjoy some well-deserved down time, without compromising your business in the process.

Traditionally, Aussie small business owners have had to sacrifice the things they love doing during the holidays to head into the office or onsite to ensure their business keeps ticking over. However, astute small business owners can take a holiday and make technology work for them by transferring their office set-up to their smartphone or tablet and creating a ‘pocket office’.

By following the below tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your pocket office while still being able to access all the services needed to respond to customer requests, keep in touch with employees and do the heavy lifting your desktop usually does.

1. Set-up remote access: You will need to access all of the documents you use for work while offsite. The good news is that in most cases, it’s just a matter of downloading an app like LogMeIn or Splashtop on the computers in the office and then using your portable device of choice to remotely connect and access the docs you need. 

2. Have the right plan for your increased usage: Relying on your device rather than WiFi in the office means that you’re likely to go over your standard usage. Whether it be the accumulation of small file downloads or one big delivery of rich content, the amount of data you usually download will certainly increase, potentially pushing you beyond the data allowance of your plan. 

There is a difference between plans that punish users for every additional megabyte used and plans which charge a little for a lot. Check out the market and find the plan which allows for flexibility, doesn’t heavily penalise you for exceeding the limit and meets your needs. 

3. Going overseas? When in Rome, do roam:  Many small business owners get caught out when they travel overseas thanks to exorbitant data roaming costs. However, there are several plans available on the market that mean it’s easy to travel and work, without blowing out your bill. Be sure to do your research beforehand so you don’t get a nasty surprise in your next bill.

 4. Set expectations and be disciplined with your time: Just because you can work, doesn’t mean you should all day. Decide how much work you can get done while still enjoying your holidays – and stick to the plan. Some tactics that can work include:

  • Breaking your day into defined sessions: morning, noon and late afternoon checks of email rather than constant scanning will help make you more focused.
  • Be clear with your customers and employees about your availability, an out of office and forward notice can help avoid disappointment and issues. 

5. Ready for an upgrade?: If you’re looking at your current set-up and unsure if it will cover you and your pocket office for the duration of your travels, there’s a great range of smartphones and tablets available which might just give you access to the killer app you’re missing. So be sure to check out what’s on the market if you feel ready to upgrade your existing tech.

Ben White is Vice President of Mobile Marketing at Optus. 

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