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Mobile Office Manners: Making it work while doing your work

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Gone are the days when the jobs finish at 5 p.m. and you go home and forget about work until the next day. Many of us take our work with us and more often than not, we work while in transit. Whether on the train, plane, boat or bus, our mobile office is an appendage we can’t seem to amputate. As a result, we sometimes forget we’re in a small space surrounded by others who wish to travel in peace.

Here are some tips that may help you be more productive, while at the same time being a more cooperative traveller to those around you:

Take advantage of lounge areas before you ride

Before you get onto your scheduled mode of transport, let the lounge or waiting area be your best friend. Do most of your phone calling then, as it’s easy to get up and walk to another part of the room so as not to disturb anyone. Many lounges have free Wi-Fi, or even dedicated mini-office spaces with desktops and printers, so take advantage. Then just before you’re about to board, let your clients know you’ll be available to talk on the phone once you arrive at your destination.

Stay neat and tidy

Once you’re done with your phone chats, leave all the quiet surfing and laptop work to the actual ride. On planes and trains, just be mindful that a fold down/pop-up food tray is not a full sized desk so keep your papers tidy. There’s nothing worse than piling sheets of paper precariously perched on the tray, only to have them fall to the floor. Then you’re in the unenviable position of trying to scoop everything up in a tight space beside your fellow travellers.

Be considerate of your “neighbours”

If you have to talk on your phone as a last resort (unless you’re saving lives, I personally think the phone calls can wait until you arrive at your destination), try moving to the back of the plane or train where there is more room to navigate and talk without disturbing your immediate neighbour. If getting out of your seat is inconvenient, consider talking in a more subdued tone. With smart phone mics able to amplify even the smallest sounds, believe me, the caller on the other end can still hear you without you shouting. Isn’t technology wonderful?

Enjoy the ride

One final note to consider when taking your mobile office with you: Why not leave your office packed in the bag and actually enjoy the trip, catch some much-needed shuteye, enjoy watching a movie, listen to music (over the ear headphones please so you can put your tracks on blast) or just enjoy the lost art of conversation? Who knows? You might end up with an unexpected networking opportunity.

Bon travail and bon voyage!

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