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Mobility Tips and Ideas: Productivity While on the Road

Mobility Tips and Ideas: Productivity While on the Road

All too often, business owners find the productivity they've dreamed of simply is not happening. Offsite meetings, frequent short trips and longer travels cross-country and abroad add up to days of down time better spent on growing the company.

On the upside, solutions to this dilemma do exist. The answer lies with coordinating work functions between the office and the road, with an eye to efficiency, organization and priorities. Today's cutting-edge technology can help, too, with mobility devices and Internet products designed specifically to maximize productivity across business venues.

The following suggestions, coupled with the right mobility devices, will go a long way to making every hour spent outside the office a fruitful one.

  • In the office, make sure Internet connectivity is high speed and reliable. Even in a travel situation, mobility devices will not work at their best when the main system is outdated or slow. This makes downloading those enormous jpeg charts you sent from Japan, Florida or even only 10 miles away a lengthy and difficult task, which is an unacceptable situation when research, sales activities or data analysis are central to a company. Products such as high-speed DSL or cable deliver speeds that far outstrip dial-up connections, delivering tasks such as uploading and downloading in a flash. Check with area providers for packages customized particularly for business (e.g. Internet/phone bundles).
  • Insure that all mobile devices, such as PDAs, smart phones and laptop computers, can be synchronized with the main computer and each other to allow efficient transfer of information. This simply means that Bluetooth-technology devices, for instance, may access files and information from company computers, as well as view, upload and download files between appliances in real time.
  • Prepare laptops and notebook computers, as well as other mobility devices, for travel. To avoid damaged hardware or data loss, remove all diskettes and CDs from their drives before leaving the office. Make sure important files on office and mobile computers, as well as on PDAs, are password protected and backed up on a flash drive, in-house or Web server. Check destination hotels - especially abroad - for their level of Internet connectivity. Also inquire as to whether electrical outlets will require adaptors.
  • When traveling, synchronize contact lists, calendars and document/data changes between mobile devices and the main computer on a regular basis. Any appliance used for business purposes should allow full calendar, e-mail, to-do list and memo management, regardless of location. This is particularly important when other people are holding down the fort at home. An administrative assistant, for example, may make changes to the calendar in your absence. Updating such appointments via a PDA or smart phone avoids confusion, embarrassment and squandered time.
  • For efficient relay of phone calls, choose a provider that offers automatic re-direction of cell phone calls to international locations. This enables business clients and associates to use the same number, even when the business owner is traveling abroad. Quad-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) phones permit calling wherever there is GSM, the world's prevalent communication network.
  • Stay on top of e-mails. Too often, harried business owners return to the office after a couple days on the road, only to find their inboxes crammed with correspondence demanding responses now. To avoid e-mail overload, take advantage of your laptop, PDA or smart phone while traveling, perhaps setting aside an hour every evening to tackle correspondence.

    Devices operating on Bluetooth and other wireless technologies offer a full complement of e-mail functions, allowing users to view, compose, send and delete e-mails from wherever the job takes them. These products likewise permit online access to the company address list, along with manual or automatic filing of messages into synchronized sub-folders.

  • Use advanced voice and data services to make the most of travel time. Building a healthy business invariably requires face-to-face time with clients, associates and employees - close to home or on the other side of the world. This state of events is fine when all parties involved can be in the same place at the same time. Often, though, a business owner will find he has only two days to visit clients scattered from coast to coast, or even abroad.

    Fortunately, advanced voice and data services enable group conferencing from any location, at home or on the road, significantly reducing travel time and costs. Thus, a single in-person meeting with a major client in California can reach two - or 200 - individuals nearly anywhere in the world. ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) technologies, in fact, make possible a broad range of communication and data transmission, including video- and phone-conferencing, medical imaging, and financial transactions, with speed, clarity and reliability.

    On the voice communication side, VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol routes voice conversations over the Internet or any other IP-based network for just pennies per call - often free computer-to-computer connections.

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