For workers who spend a fair percentage of their time traveling, cars aren’t just boxes of metal that move from place to place. In fact, they’re mini mobile workspaces — a great place for making calls and typing up a presentation (while parked, of course). But just because they’re convenient, doesn’t mean the car is the most comfortable and ergonomically sound place to work. In today’s final installment of October Mobile Ergonomics, we take a good look at how you can outfit your car for comfort, productivity and success, all in vehicular style.
1. Power Up
First things first: if you’re going to be working from your car, you’re going to need a good power supply. Thankfully, you’ve got a good source right in that car battery. You can find online any number of simple USB power adapters, which you can plug into your cigarette lighter, or you can go all out with an entire power strip. Just keep in mind that your car battery isn’t infinite, so make sure to start the car every hour or so if you’re going to be charging your appliances for long periods of time.
2. Find a Way to Connect
Who needs a router when you’ve got a smartphone? These days, you can easily turn your phone into a mobile hotspot. Certain car makers are even beginning to partner directly with mobile carriers to turn their cars into wi-fi hotspots, so if you’re looking for a new car, it might be good to see if this extra feature is available.
Alternatively, you could always work offline on your devices, connecting to the internet through your phone data plan only when needed. Working offline can be a great way to prevent distraction.
3. Make Your Own Desk
That steering wheel may be a necessary feature for driving, but it sure makes for a cramped workspace. Try moving over to the passenger or back seat, where you can set up your own desk and have a little more space to stretch.
There is a surprising range of car desks available, from a simple platform to an entire workstation complete with pen and paper holders. Some even allow space for a printer.
Whatever kind of desk you go for, it’s best to bring along a laptop and tablet stand and a mobile ergonomic keyboard, so you can type away without straining your neck, back, wrists and joints. The stand can also be used to hold a tablet as a second screen if your work requires wider screen space.
4. Keep it Safe
With all of these new car goodies, it’s important that you lock everything in the trunk where no one can spot them at the end of the day to prevent theft. A car alarm can also be useful. And of course, wherever you park to work, make sure it’s a safe area where you won’t feel threatened as you type away on your expensive equipment.
5. Work it Out
No matter how far forward you push that front seat, working in your car is still going to be a cramped experience. You can easily get that blood flowing again with a number of easy exercises, including steering wheel crunches, spine stretches, glute squeezes and toe raises.
Working on the road (or from the side of it) doesn’t have to take a bite out of your productivity, and nor does it have to be an uncomfortable experience. With these tips, you’ll get a lot done and you just might get a workout, too.
What steps do you take to make your car a more comfortable workspace? Let us know in the comments below.