Five tips to stay safe and productive while working from the road
Looking to take your remote job to the next level and hit the road? In this article, Mark Barclay from vehicle experts PartsForAllCars.com shares his top tips to help you stay safe when working from your campervan.
Despite lockdown restrictions significantly easing over the past few months, many workers still haven’t made a return to the office — and many don’t plan on going back anytime soon.
In fact, a recent survey found that 70% of people don’t believe that workers will return to the office full time (BBC News). On top of this, 61% of employees prefer being fully remote, so it’s likely that we’ll see the number of remote working roles grow in the future (Forbes).
One of the best things about remote working is the number of opportunities it opens up. You can work pretty much anywhere with a remote job, from a coffee shop to a holiday home. Or if you’re in the mood for an adventure, you may be interested in hitting the open road and working from a campervan. If working from the road sounds ideal for you, make sure to use the following five tips to stay both safe and productive.
Keep your vehicle in top condition
One of the most important precautions to take when it comes to staying safe on the road is to make sure that your vehicle is in top condition. This is even more important for people living in a campervan — after all, it isn’t just your vehicle you’re looking after, but your home too. The good news is that keeping your motorhome in a good condition doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you check up on it regularly.
To maintain the inside of the campervan, always check that the seals on windows and doors are in top condition. Poor sealant can let water in, which is particularly bad news for campervans as mould and mildew can be hard to get rid of in motorhomes. You should also regularly flush out the water system to keep it clean and hygienic.
You should keep up with regular vehicle maintenance, just like you would with any other vehicle. Regularly top up the screen wash and oil, and replace them if they’ve been in for too long — oil that needs to be replaced will look darker than usual. And remember to frequently check on the tyre pressures, especially before a long journey.
Always follow the rules of the road
It’s always important to stay safe on the roads, but people with their entire lives in their vehicle have even more to lose if an accident does occur. To keep both yourself and all your belongings as safe as possible, always follow the rules of the road.
If you ever find yourself questioning a speed limit or road sign and feel a temptation to ignore it, remember that it’s always there for a reason. Plus, campervans aren’t built to go as fast as cars. They’re much larger, and it is slower for them to stop, so keeping to the lower end of the speed limit is important for preventing any accidents.
Keep up to date with insurance
Living in a campervan is an incredibly fun adventure, and very safe on the most part. However, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for every eventuality, because damage to the vehicle is bad news for you and your wallet. Not only does shelling out for repairs cost a pretty penny, but if your work equipment is damaged too, this can seriously affect your next pay cheque.
That’s why you should always take out insurance on any work equipment before you hit the open road. Not only will this lessen the financial burden, but many policies will replace your broken equipment within a short space of time, so you can get back to work as soon as possible.
It’s also worth buying insurance for your other important and expensive items, such as your phone, your glasses, and any expensive pieces of jewellery. While insurance may seem like an extra expense that you don’t really need, you’ll be thankful you have it if the worst happens.
Create a separate workspace
They say that it’s important to separate your home life and your work life, but as we’ve discovered from this past year, it can be tricky to do this when your dining room table is your work desk. But this is even more difficult when working from a campervan, as the space becomes your office, your home, and your vehicle all in one.
To separate it up as much as you can, try saving one space in your campervan exclusively for work. Even if it’s just a small space, you’ll feel so much better leaving that area at the end of the day, and it’ll be much easier to relax for the rest of the evening.
There are a number of ways to fit a workspace into your motorhome, even if it’s smaller than the average. One nifty idea is to convert a drawer in your kitchen area into a desk, or build a special slide out desk. This way, you can close it at the end of the day and forget about work altogether. Or you may instead want to invest in a foldable desk that can be folded and stored flat when not in use, either under the bed or against the wall.
Make reliable internet a priority
Any remote worker knows there’s nothing more frustrating than an unstable Wi-Fi connection. Not only does it completely interfere with your momentum at work, but it can look unprofessional to clients and customers too. However, it is possible to get reliable internet in your campervan.
The best option is to turn your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot. This allows you to use the signal from your phone to create a Wi-Fi network that other devices can connect to (Insider). A Wi-Fi dongle does a similar job, but it plugs into your device directly through the USB port. While both of these are popular options, it still relies on you getting enough mobile signal. This means it is not always reliable in rural areas, so make sure to bare this in mind.
Another option is to always opt for camping sites that have a Wi-Fi connection. Many sites offer an internet connection free of charge, but it’s always worth checking beforehand just in case. And before you start working, it’s also a good idea to make a note of the nearest café or library with a Wi-Fi connection, just in case the worst does happen.
While ditching your office in favour of your campervan may come with a few challenges, it’s an extremely fun adventure. And if you use the tips above, you should be able to stay both safe and productive while working from your motorhome.