Coworking is all about convenience and flexibility, but there’s always stuff you need to bring. Check out these tips on how to streamline your equipment and simplify your hybrid-work experience so you don’t end up carrying more gear than a Sherpa.
For coworkers and veteran road warriors working from anywhere and everywhere, hot-desking — staking claim to any available workstation — can be both a blessing and a curse (like most innovations of modern work).
The upside: Without being tethered to an office, workers can essentially create a workplace just about anywhere they go — coworking spaces like THRIVE, coffee shops, hotel bars and more.
The downside: Despite the freedoms of where and when, hot-desking can become laborious if you have to schlep computers, chargers and assorted peripherals in and out of backpacks or messenger bags all the time.
There is a way, though, to streamline gear and minimize the equipment you must tote around to get the job done and simplify your remote-work experience. The advice oddly mirrors the low-impact philosophy about camping and enjoying the great outdoors — in a nutshell, it’s travel lightly and mindfully.
Here, in no particular order, are some suggestions for quite literally lightening your load.
Tip 1: Cut the cords.
Face it: One of the biggest drags of remote work is the need to lug around a bunch of different chargers and connecting cords along with the devices themselves. One solution to this problem is going entirely wireless, by embracing Bluetooth across the board. Common Bluetooth upgrades include headphones, mice and speakers. Depending on your profession, other wireless accessories may be available.
Word to the wise. While ditching the corded versions of these items may free up space in your work bag, it also behooves you to be vigilant about charging them at home so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you run out of battery during an important interview or meeting.
Tip 2: Buy wisely.
The first way to streamline your coworking experience is to invest in equipment that allows you to do so. This means upgrading that clunky (and heavy) old laptop. It also means potentially investing in a cell phone with a battery that keeps a charge, as well as other battle-tested equipment. Many of these upgrades could be considered cutting-edge. Some, however, are as basic as can be.
Spencer Spellman, a content creator who hot-desked for years at coworking locations in Los Angeles and Portland, says he loves using his iPad with a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard for maximum mobility.
“[This combination] is a new one for me, and it has been clutch as a backup computer and/or second screen,” Spellman says. “It’s especially handy if I need to use one of the coworking phone booths, because it’s difficult to get an external monitor to fit in there.”
Tip 3: Ditch the print.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when every computer in America was tethered (either literally or virtually) to a printer. Today, however, the truth is that workers don’t need printers at all.
Ditching the idea of a printer is another way to streamline the hot-desk experience. And with coworking spaces offering a certain amount of free or low-cost virtual printing as part of standard membership packages, there’s a good chance you don’t even need one anymore.
Be sure to check the fine print of any coworking agreement before ditching your printer altogether; it also may be worth holding on to your old printer at home, or investing in a new wireless printer so that even when you’re away you can send files to the queue back at the ranch.
Tip 4: Play TSA
Another great way to keep coworking simple is to physically limit the amount of stuff you can take with you when you work. Here, a wise strategy is to downsize your work bag, then force yourself to take only the equipment that fits inside. Depending on the bag you choose, you may only be able to take a laptop. If you get a bigger bag, you might have the option of adding a peripheral or two such as headphones or a USB fan.
Lambeth Hochwald, a freelance writer and adjunct college professor in New York, says she always packs for the commute instead of the hot-desking setup. She adds that while this exercise often prompts her to make tough choices about what to take, it also makes the decision process very straightforward, since she doesn’t have that many choices.
“If I can’t take it with me on the subway, it’s not coming,” she says. “Why complicate it more than that?”