What goes into our portable office?
As has been mentioned already we have no dedicated office space. With our new business we have decided to keep our costs down by working where we can. Sometimes this involves working at home, and sometimes we meet and work, usually in a café. We have discussed some of our top choices for cafe working here, but whilst it might seem like living the dream to some, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. Not least is that you no longer have a dedicated space to work, so no dedicated space to leave your stuff, and a strict limitation on what you can take with you when you head out. So here we share some of our tips for home working/cafe working.
Home working, cafe working - the portable office
If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated office room in your house then equipping your workspace is likely a straightforward affair. However, if like us you have to dual purpose one of your other rooms, then you will probably find the balance between practical working space and kitchen/dining room/bedroom a tricky affair. I personally find myself working at home from any combination of the kitchen table or the sofa and it is still a work in progress as to how I keep the house tidy after working, yet make it a workable space when I am.
When we meet, usually once or twice a week, we agree on a suitable venue. It might be one or other’s house, it might be incorporated into doing the Stationery Walk for the day, but usually it will be a venue we have settled on. There are several considerations when you decide to work in this way.
I think for us this is the big one. If you are carrying your laptop, and maybe a charger too, then it adds up quickly. Throw in a notebook, pen, and any extras you choose to carry (water bottle, book, keys etc) then you start planning your load like a backpacking pro.
You will need a decent bag, ideally one that allows for safe carriage of your laptop. Some people like 101 pockets so that every item has a home. Some (like both of us) like a big open space where you can open the bag and see everything. Horses for courses but the point is the same – you need a good bag. We both carry a Kanken bag, a legacy of our days at Bureau when the whole office seemed to have one. Still widely available – click here to see a decent range at John Lewis.
This is most certainly not a tech blog and I am not here to recommend laptops. That said, we have both ended up with a silver HP laptop. In my case it does the job, just. Once you immerse yourself in the world of cafe working though you will soon get Mac Book envy. Much comes and goes in the world but the hipster laptop of choice solidly remains Apple. You can buy them at John Lewis. Just saying.
Outside of laptops there is the small issue of tech paraphernalia. There is no end to what you might need but my tips centre around keeping a core of gadgets that will keep me going. Phone battery life can be an issue on heavy-use days, so being able to charge it as and when you have access to a plug point can be a life-saver (so to speak, although it might actually save your life one day when you need a phone in an emergency). So I carry a lead, a plug and a battery power pack. And it all goes in a neat little Muji case. See below for the breakdown.
The paraphernalia fits, just, into this compact case from Muji. It means if I know battery life will be an issue I just grab the lot. Click here to see more.
There are so many out there. This one caught my eye on John Lewis. It seems to be about the size of a small iPhone.
After all, this is a stationery-centric blog.
I like a notebook that has room to write but cafe working demands a portable office and this is also quite compact. The softcover makes it less bulky, and it has all those great Leuchtturm features. Perfect. Click here to buy over at Foyles (look for the B6+ Softcover)
I was sent a Midori pen loop by Nero’s Notes recently and it is brilliant. Unlike other ones it clips on so can be reused on another book, and is quite flexible so can take a wide variety of pen sizes.
Sadly they have stopped selling them but you can get the Leuchtturm pen loop here.
I naturally also need a pen. Now the honest truth is that I have settled on a Muji rollerball pen. I do love them, and whilst I might be expected to take a fountain pen with me, they are just too much hassle for me. Sorry. I just find the combination of ink and sofas a risk too far!
I do sometimes need a few extra pens, scissors and other stationery knick-knacks. On such days I will naturally have a pen case for the job. I have a choice of ones to call on but this one is a favourite of mine.
To do notepad
Jo has suggested a useful to-do notepad, a simple way to keep on top of your daily tasks. This one over at Paperchase fits the bill.