From long flights to even longer meetings, business travel can be wearing. Add to that a near constant parade of coffee, lunch and dinner dates, and it’s a wonder any business person manages to tackle much of their everyday workload while they’re away.
But working on the road doesn’t have to put a dent in your productivity. From hotel rooms to coffee shops, airplanes, park benches and even the back of a rental car, there are plenty of ways to stay on your work game. For the month of October, we’ll be featuring our best tips for working ergonomically in a wide range of typical business travel locales. By the time November 1st rolls around, you’re sure to be working and feeling better — wherever you go.
First up: Hotel Rooms
Sure, hotel marketing emphasizes leisure and comfort, but your back will be saying otherwise if you spend the whole day typing from bed. Here are just a few ways you can keep things comfortable and productive while working from your hotel room.
1. Play With the Furniture
Most hotels will provide a desk and a chair, though whether that workspace will be comfortable and well-lit is anyone’s guess. If the chair makes you hunch, try slipping those extra bed pillows behind your back for extra support. Likewise, for a chair that’s too low, laying those pillows directly on the seat can help raise you to the proper level, with your arms bent at a 45 degree angle while you type.
Alternatively, try making your own standing desk. This is easily done in a suite with a kitchen, as you can simply place your laptop on the counter, though you can also do so in bathrooms with large amounts of counter space (with the obvious downside being that you’ll be working from the bathroom). Or, stack whatever books you can find onto the desk and balance your laptop on top.
Lighting is often poor in hotel rooms, in which case it makes perfect sense for you to move the desk to the window. Don’t worry about what the hotel will say; you can always move it back, and you’re the one paying for it, anyway.
2. Bring Ergonomics With You
Increasingly, many business travelers rely on mobile devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops to do much of their work. But tiny screens and flat, straight keyboards force your hands and joints into awkward positions, increasing your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or simply pulling out your neck.
But with a few accessories, those mobile devices can easily be made ergonomic. Start by purchasing a lightweight and convenient Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard. Not only will this keyboard’s split design guide your hands into an ideal position, but it’s also easily stored, as you can just fold it up and slip it into your briefcase. An ergonomic mouse will also prevent wrist strain, while a laptop and tablet stand will prevent eye, neck and back strain as it will keep your screen at eye level. All of these products are light, portable and easy to bring with you, wherever you go.
3. Create Your Own Wireless Hub
While many hotels provide free Wi-Fi these days, it’s not a guarantee. As such, make sure you keep track of any hefty internet fees so your company can reimburse you. Even when hotels do offer Wi-Fi, it’s often shoddy, so consider bringing your own ethernet cord so you can plug right into the wall. Working from the lobby is also an option, as the Wi-Fi connection is often stronger there.
If you’re really on the road a lot, ask your phone carrier about plans that will allow you to tether your devices to your phone or turn it into a wireless hotspot. This guide will help you through the rest of the process.
4. Move around
When working from your hotel room, it’s just as important to move around as it is at home. This could be as simple as taking a break every hour or so to walk around this new neighborhood, or simply taking the stairs down to the gym for a quick spring on the treadmill.
You can even workout right from your room. Use your chair to do tricep dips, do lunges and splits across the room, sprinkle in a few squats or crunches and voila! You’ve gotten that blood flowing and you’ll have a much easier time concentrating.
5. Pick the Right Room
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to pick a room that’s quiet and free of distraction. When you book, make sure to request a room that’s away from the stairwell or any street noise. Double check this is what you’ve got when you check in. Doing so will ensure you not only work better during the day but that you also sleep better at night, so you’re rested and ready to go.
Working on the go doesn’t have to mean working in pain or sacrificing your productivity. What do you do to stay healthy and productive on the road? Let us know in the comments below.