Break away from the office and telecommute from your boat with these ideas to make “work from boat” easier
It’s every 9-5 boater’s dream – taking advantages of your job’s telecommuting privileges and working from the boat. In some cases you may be working from the boat for more than just Fridays – it may be several days a week or even full time.
Many companies already allow you to work from home on Fridays or telecommute, and it really doesn’t matter where you are as long as you are getting your work done. Heading down to your boat on a Friday morning or Thursday evening is usually a much better way to beat late Friday afternoon traffic in the summertime. If you can get an early start commuting to your boat then when work is done you are already there ready to enjoy the weekend.
But there are definitely productivity challenges with working from the boat – from the environment to adequate office space to reliable internet connections.
Here are some common challenges and how you might address them to make working on your boat a bit more productive.
One of the biggest problems with working from your boat is seeing your laptop screen on a sunny afternoon – the glare can be blinding. First, be sure you have a good pair of polarized sunglasses to help with the sun (a must-have for any boater really). Then, a good sun glare screen for your monitor can also help cut down on the glare.
Even if your marina offers free WiFi you may have internet connection issues at your dock because of the signal strength. Many marinas have their signal coming from the main office which is far from the docks – and even further depending on where your boat is on the dock. If your marina is not willing or able to upgrade their equipment, then you can try using an USB Wireless WiFi Network Adapter with a high-gain antenna to boost the signal.
WiFi access at marinas often has a limited number of open IP addresses… even if the wireless signal strength is good, you won’t be able to connect your smartphone or laptop. This is a common problem with busy marinas because everyone is trying to jump on the WiFi with their smartphone. It’s best to invest in your own mobile hotspot if you really need to ensure you always have a reliable internet connection. You can easily purchase a wireless mobile hotspot device online and add it to your wireless plan.
*See our list of recommended Internet Hotspot devices in our post about Improving Internet at Marinas.
Let’s face it, unless you have a mega yacht you probably don’t have designated office space on board. Setting up your laptop at the salon table is usually the best desk you’ll have on board. Others may have to be above deck to get a good internet connection, or just choose to be out in the fresh air (that is one of the reasons you are working from the boat!) Another good option may be your marina lounge or office. The internet connection and/or Wi-Fi signal is likely to be stronger than at the docks and you can probably find a nice chair and table to set up your “remote office”.
Docks are usually great for socializing with your slip neighbors, but if you start chatting with everyone that passes by your boat you’ll never get anything done. If your face is buried in your laptop then people will usually get the hint that you are busy and can’t be disturbed. If not, you may want to escape to the cabin for some peace and quiet.
Hold the booze
It may be 5 o’clock somewhere (as the saying goes) but it’s probably best to not start happy hour until you log out… as tempting as it may be!
The best part about working from your boat (other than having an office with a great view) is getting an early start to your weekend as soon as you log off.
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