We have a few bank holidays in Great Britain. Usually, the extra day off is Monday. The week is shorter, or, looking more optimistic, the weekend is extended. This fact inspired us to do a little experiment. We decided to visit our friends who had moved out of London. The place is three hours away by car, so the trip should be longer. We decided to do something crazy.
We planned the trip to spend three weekend days with friends and then rent a hotel room for the rest of the four working days. I spent the mornings with my family eating breakfast and helping them plan their day. Then, I went to my room to work, and my family went on further adventures.
I would like to share what this trip taught me. I divided the lessons into what worked well, what could be improved for the next such travel, and the gadgets that helped me on this trip.
👍 Work from a hotel – what worked well
What has caught my eye from time to time is that I am entirely alone. Working from home, especially during the holidays, or in the long term of a pandemic, despite the clarification, “requests and threats”, someone always disturbs me from time to time by checking into my home office. In the hotel, I was alone in my room all day. And… it was a very productive time.
I prepared myself for this trip, and it paid off. I took all the necessary equipment with me. From a business laptop, through all kinds of chargers and power banks, ending with backup solutions such as an additional tablet with an LTE module, an extra pair of headphones or all sorts of cables. My “office” backpack weighed two tons 😁
Additionally, an essential thing in the preparation category was planning what I was supposed to do. It was dictated by the arrangements at work. The central axis here was the meetings in which I wanted to participate. I have also prepared a list of things I would be able to take care of in case the Internet connection is bad enough to make it impossible to work online. The second list was the things I wanted to do in deep work mode. I keep all lists and related projects and update them on an ongoing basis in the Nozbe program.
👎 Work from a hotel – what could be improved
Everyone associates a trip to a hotel with a vacation. This was also the case with my family and myself. After our breakfasts spent together, it was not easy to split and go to work. It took a while for this part to be easier for everyone.
Another important aspect of remote work is the Internet connection. I checked hotel reviews in this regard. The first day confirmed what the others wrote. The connection was fantastic – 19Mbps up and down. Unfortunately, on the second day, there were problems with packet loss, which occasionally reached even 30%. On Friday, a wedding party was taking place in the hotel lobby, and probably everyone started using the link at once because the comfort of work dropped drastically.
When the internet was not good enough, I either switched to my iPad to work via LTE, or I used the LTE as the main shared Internet connection. It worked well.
💻 Work from the hotel – gadgets
Fortunately, we can predict most of the inconveniences I described earlier. Before the pandemic, I travelled many times on business trips, so I had an idea of what I would need and what I would need to take with me. Here is my list:
- Backpack: Nomatic Backpack. it has become an indispensable companion in my travels. Offers tons of functional pockets.
- Work laptop: Mac Pro 13 ″
- Spare iPad Pro with LTE module. It saved me when the hotel connection was so weak that I had to switch to a backup connection.
- Headphones with background mute: Bose QuietComfort 35. I still have the first release; so far, it works just fine.
- USB Lencent charger. I have to change it to something quieter; it “squeaks” terribly. I have not read the reviews; apparently, “they just work like this.
- iWalk 9000mAh power bank with Apple Watch charging capability. It is my newest purchase, and it turned out to be a mega-useful device that can charge your phone, tablet and watch at the same time. Plus, it can be connected to a constant power source and recharge itself simultaneously. Interestingly, it has two lightning and UCB-C inputs.
To me, remote work is a category broader than work from home. We can work remotely from home, from a hotel, and in special cases, even from the office. What I mean by this is that we need to be prepared. We need to have solid procedures to be able to communicate with our team. Also, physical preparation is very important:
- If there is at least one person that works from home, your team is already remote. Most the managers don’t realise it.
- It is not enough to be able to dial into the corporate intranet via VPN. Procedures, communication habits, tools and in general team routine and rituals – all need to be designed to support and promote remote work.
- The ability to work remotely it’s a skill. Needed to consider and checked during the hiring process. It’s a skill, so can be trained. Certain character trades will help certain people to naturally be good at it, others need to learn.
- You, your team and your manager need to build a relationship based on trust to be able to be an effective remote team.
- Do all you can do in your power to build, maintain and increase this trust.
- Some people will be afraid of losing control while working remotely. Managers will be afraid of losing track of what team members do. Teammates will be afraid of losing track of what is significant, and what is being communicated. Address these concerns. Build the right procedures. Control procedures, not people.
- Prepare all your gear in advance. Think about what you need to be effective; chargers, extra LTE backup, power banks, notice cancelling headphones etc.
What is your experience in working from a hotel journey? Do you have any struggles? What items do you have on your list of gadgets to make this kind of work smooth?
Thanks for reading!
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