Back at the start of the year I was living in temporary rented accommodation for two months. I was still working but had to leave my computer, desk, chair, reference books and other office paraphernalia at home. So how to recreate a suitable work environment quickly and easily in a new spot?
First, pick a location. Our rented apartment had a living room, kitchen/dining area, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the bedrooms actually had a desk area set up in it. Other than that the only chair/table combos were the dining table and the kitchen breakfast bar. Goldilocks-style, I ruled out the bedroom office setup (too removed from the living space, where my daughter would be playing), and the dining area (too close to the living space, which would make it hard to concentrate) and settled on the breakfast bar which had a view of the living room but was set back so I would have a chance to work in semi-peace (just right!).
Second, set up your computer. I was using my husband’s laptop with add-on mouse. Laptops aren’t great from an ergonomic point of view, but it was workable for the short period of time I required it. I also had the laptop on top of the breakfast bar, giving me both sitting and standing options. I had made sure to move all my current work files, templates and most frequently used reference materials from my home computer into Dropbox before leaving, so I was able to access them all on the laptop, courtesy of the cloud! And I brought along a simple notepad and pen to give myself a break from the computer/the opportunity to work outside (our laptop is a clunker with almost no battery life!).
Third, get yourself some internet. We had our landlord install a modem and then we were able to create a pay-as-you-go account so we only paid for the internet we used while we were living there. I deal with all my clients by email so this was all I needed (almost*). If you use the phone a lot in your business, I believe Skype and Google both provide call forwarding services which allow you to receive calls made to your home phone over the internet, so your clients wouldn’t have to make any changes to your contact info.
Last, reference materials. Sadly I had to leave my heavy dictionaries etc. at home, but I found the online resources I sometimes use at home did a great job filling in on a more full-time basis during the two months.
And that’s it! A nice little home-office-away-from-home. Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how you can make it work if you need (or want) to be away from home for an extended period and still work comfortably. If you have any ideas that you’d like to add, please tell me about them in the comments below!
* I’ve sneakily left out how to arrange receiving mail while you are away. In our case, we asked my sister to pick up our mail and deposit any checks for me. If anyone knows of any alternatives to this setup, I’d love it if you would let me know in the comments.